Bjorn, Streelman lead in Melbourne

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and American Kevin Streelman carded five-under par 66s to share the first round lead at the World Cup of Golf.

Streelman birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine to take control of the first round, but was pegged back when he bogeyed the last two holes at Royal Melbourne.

Korean KJ Choi, Scotland’s Martin Laird and Welshman Stuart Manley were tied for third place on 67, while Jason Day was another stroke behind after carding a 68.

Matt Kuchar, Streelman’s American team-mate, shot four bogeys on the back nine en route to a first round 71.

In the team event, the Americans and Denmark are tied at the top, three strokes ahead of Portugal.

“I made some good birdie putts today and some par saves as well, so pretty happy,” Streelman said on his debut for the American team.

Bjorn started off poorly and four-putted in the fourth, but improved as the day went on.

“I thought, ‘Well, this could be a long day,’ but I just kind of kept my composure and made some good birdies and kept playing solid,” Bjorn said.

“It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play.”

Kuchar said that he wasn’t particularly disappointed with his score, despite the late bogeys.

“The back side today, certainly 16, 18, are really tough holes,” Kuchar said.

“I was not able to finish those off as well as I would like to have today, but even par is not a bad score.”

The system which is being used to determine entries for the World Cup – world rankings and the number of players eligible from each participating nation on those rankings – is the same system that will be used at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games