Sheehan, Wilkinson lead at Coolum
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2008 Australian PGA Championship | Round One | 05 Dec 2008
At 5.30 am this morning 78 players set about completing their opening rounds of the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship.
The players left stranded by the afternoon storms of yesterday all had the chance to finish off their rounds in conditions more conducive to good scoring than 14 hours earlier. There would however be winners and losers in the sublime early morning weather at the Hyatt Regency Coolum.
Joint overnight leader Peter Wilson returned to the course at the 15th hole and remained in the lead before dropping shots at his final two holes to finish with an opening round of 68.
New Zealander Michael Long started his morning at the 9th hole and picked up birdies at the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th holes to move to 6 under and he and fellow countryman Tim Wilkinson shared the lead. Long would bogey the final hole but his round of 67 continued a good run of form in recent weeks including his win at the WA PGA Championship and his success in securing the Von Nida Tour money list title.
Paul Sheehan was another to gain ground in the closing stages of his opening round when he picked up four birdies in his closing nine holes and he would join Wilkinson as the joint first round leader when play in the opening round was completed. Sheehan has played the Japan Golf Tour in 2008 without much success in fact his last few months have been very ordinary. This is quite a turnaround for him.
Mathew Goggin finished runner up in this event previously and following several good end of season finishes on the PGA Tour he was one of the pre tournament favourites. Goggin finished his round at 5 under 67 and is within one of the lead.
And so when all was completed in round one, Wilkinson and Sheehan led by one over Goggin, Long and the two who finished their rounds yesterday, Richard Lee and Geoff Ogilvy.
The chances of another storm later in the day on day two are high and it might be that a similar scenario develops late in the day. The cut at this stage appears likely to fall at even par.
One of the sad stories of the morning was that of Victorian, Craig Scott, who was penalised four shots for carrying an extra club in his bag. The indiscretion was discovered at his 11th hole after he had parred the 10th and birdied the 11th holes of his round. Scott bounced back with a birdie at his 13th hole but the damage had been done and he finished with 76.
Soon after all players had completed their rounds, many were already back on the course and one was Nathan Green who made a rapid move towards contention when he holed in one at the par three 11th to move within two of the lead.