Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Bjorn and Kevin Streelman carded matching 5-under 66s on Thursday to share the lead following the opening round of the World Cup of Golf.
K.J. Choi, Martin Laird and Stuart Manley shared third place at 4-under 67, while Jason Day sat alone in sixth place at Royal Melbourne Golf Club after shooting a 3-under 68 during his first round.
Danny Willett and Ricardo Santos each shot a 69 to tie for seventh.
The tournament consists of 60 players representing 34 different countries based on the Official World Golf Ranking and includes both an individual and team competition. The top two players from each country will be teamed up and their scores will combine to account for their team score.
Bjorn quickly got on the board with a birdie at the second, but then dropped to 1-over with a 4-putt double-bogey 6 at the fourth.
He would not drop another shot for the rest of the day, however, and later got those two strokes back with a pair of gains at the sixth and ninth.
After opening his inward nine with a par at the 10th, he moved to 2-under with a birdie at the 11th.
The Dane later closed his round with three birdies in a four-hole span from the 15th to jump ahead of early clubhouse leaders Choi and Manley, and grab sole possession of first place at 5-under.
"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 about his early double bogey. "It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play."
Streelman, meanwhile, recorded back-to-back birdies at the second and third to go along with seven pars to make the turn at 2-under.
He then reeled off three straight birdies from the 10th to grab a share of the lead before adding another pair of gains at the 14th and 15th to take the outright lead at 7-under.
But he would struggle from there, tripping to bogeys at the 16th and 18th to fall back to 5-under and into a tie with Bjorn.
"I made some good birdie putts today and some par saves as well, so pretty happy," said Streelman.
Laird and Manley each countered a lone bogey with five birdies to claim their share of third place, while Choi recorded six birdies and two bogeys during his opening round.
NOTES: Streelman's and Bjorn's scores also allowed the United States and Denmark to share the team lead. Streelman is teamed with Matt Kuchar for the Americans, while Bjorn is teamed with Thorbjorn Olesen for the Danes. Kuchar and Olesen both shot 71 on Thursday ... Kuchar won the team event with Gary Woodland the last time this tournament was contested in 2011 ... Streelman is holding at least a share of the first-round lead for the second time in his career.