Bright day for Aussie at Pebble Beach

YOUNG Queenslander Jason Day made an impressive start to the $US6.1 million ($A9.34 million) Pebble Beach National Pro-Am yesterday, shooting a five-under 67 to be tied for sixth.

Fellow Australian Steve Elkington was also in a large group at 67, two shots behind American co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Robert Garrigus.

Rich Beem, Vaughn Taylor and Charley Hoffman were tied for third at six-under 66, while former US Masters champion Mike Weir from Canada was in the seven-strong group on 67 alongside Day and Elkington.

Day was pleased with a round highlighted by three straight birdies beginning at the sixth hole.

“I hit the ball really good, gave myself a lot of chances out there and actually made no bogeys, which was great, and capitalised on the putts I needed to make,” he said.

“I actually had three out of four par-5s I birdied, which was actually pretty good for me, so I'm very happy about that. I played well.”

Wet weather is forecast for the remainder of the tournament.

“Everyone is going to play in the rain because the courses are so close, but I've just got to go out there and just try and keep pressing forward,” said Day.

Aron Price shot a 68 to be the best of the other Australians, ahead of Mathew Goggin (70), Matt Jones and Greg Chalmers (both 71), Jarrod Lyle and Marc Leishman (both 72) and Steve Allan (73).

In the LPGA in Hawaii, Michelle Wie made a triumphant return to the Tour, firing a first round six-under 66 to lie equal second at the season-opening SBS Open.

The 19-year-old was making her debut as a full-fledged LPGA Tour member and birdied her final three holes to sit alongside 2008 rookie of the year Yani Tseng of Taiwan.

American Angela Stanford shot a bogey-free seven-under 65 to claim the first round lead.

Playing in front of the largest gallery and on her home island of Oahu, Wie was making her first US start since July when she was disqualified from the State Farm Classic.

She had to earn her 2009 card in December at qualifying school.



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