However, right behind him are two home grown players in Greg Norman and Nick O'Hern. The Australians each carded opening rounds of 66 to close just one shot off the pace. Thomas Bjorn shares a spot of joint fourth with three others at 5-under.
Robertson appears to be off to a great start in 2001. The 30-year-old Scot has already recorded a third place finish at this year's Alfred Dunhill Championship, finishing just two shots off Adam Scott's winning score. And today, he played a flawless round, carding five birdies and an eagle against no bogies.
'With the wind blowing here and the greens drying out every day, patience is the key around here,' he said.
'If you play well, you get rewarded. You don't want to be doing anything silly around here because you can easily shoot a 78.'
There certainly seems to be nothing silly about Norman's form this week. After recently saying that he only has about two years of competitive golf left in him, the 45-year-old went around the track at the Vines in just 66 strokes.
'The putting was very good,' the two-time major champion said. 'I saw a lot of good lines today and I could feel it, so you just get up there and hit them.'
Norman has not been quite so enthusiastic of his game in recent times, however. He has not won professionally since 1997, and with his aging years, has had some health problems emerge.
'I could easily have walked away after hip surgery (last year), but I felt the internal drive was still strong,' he said.
'I've always felt that I had the capabilities, although I lost two years of my career through surgery.'
One player who is just beginning his career in professional golf is Justin Rose. Coming off successive runner-up finishes in his last two events, the 20-year-old came in Thursday with a 2-under 70 and is right in the thick of things this week as well.
Likewise, defending champion Michael Campbell made a strong first day defense of his title with an opening round of 3-under 69.
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