Australian Amateur Leads Down Under


2006 MasterCard MastersMELBOURNE, Australia - Aaron Pike, an amateur from Australia, fired an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take the lead after one round of the MasterCard Masters.
Pike, 21, had six birdies and one eagle and turned in the best amateur performance in a European Tour event in three years.
'Obviously I am delighted with my start,' he said, 'but if you shoot 64 in the first round, realistically you can shoot it every day. I am not going to change anything or expect myself to win because I've got a 64. But we'll see what happens.'
Pike has only been a full-time golfer since last year, when he won the 2005 Queensland Amateur Championship. Prior to that he was a serious cricket player until the age of 16.
His round started with a jolt at the par-5 10th, where he made a 10-foot eagle putt to quickly move below par. Six birdies would follow, including four straight to end his round from the sixth to the ninth.
Afterward, Pike recounted his early eagle.
'At my opening hole I hit driver,' he said. 'It was the first shot of the day and it was a bit cold. I did not hit it the caddie said where to hit [my second shot] and I pulled it about 10 feet. It was a bit of a miss-hit but a good miss-hit.'
Many of Pike's fellow Australians -- this event is being co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour -- littered the top of the leaderboard.
Peter Wilson shot a 7-under 65 and shared second place with England's Nick Dougherty, making him one of 11 Australians in the top 15 at Huntingdale Golf Club.
Raphael Jacquelin of France was fourth after a 6-under 66.
Beyond that, Aussies Aaron Baddeley, Steven Bowditch, Tony Carolan, Peter Lonard and Craig Parry were tied for fifth place with Spain's Carl Suneson at 4-under 68.
Defending champion Robert Allenby shared 11th place with fellow Aussies Gavin Flint, Chris Gray and John Senden and Englishman Justin Rose at 3-under 69.
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