Thousands of fans lined Lake Karrinyup Country Club’s fairways today to see 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel and world number 10 Jason Dufner.
Playing off for a total purse of $2 million are 191 professional golfers and one amateur.
The golfers are in town for the ISPS HANDA Perth International, part of the European Tour, worth $2 million.
But day one was stolen by New Zealand’s Michael Hendry and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares who lead the field at -7.
Belying his six birdies in his bogey-free round Hendry said his form had been “rough” this year.
“I haven’t been playing well really, but I saw a few glimpses in China last week, so it is nice to carry on that form,” Hendry said.
“I have spent a lot of time hitting balls on the driving range and doing a lot of practice.”
Little-known Argentine Emiliano Grillo led the field for most of the day. After shooting a six under par 66 he said he had a good round overall.
“I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens,” Grillo said.
“The ones I missed, I managed to get up and down.”
Ashley Hall, Max McCardle and Jason Scrivener are the best of the Australians sitting in equal fifth position three shots behind.
Star attraction and world number 31 Charl Schwartzel said the weather conditions were tough.
“It is very difficult to judge the wind on this course,” he said.
“It is very inconsistent.
“I hit a bogey and I think that broke my momentum and I couldn’t get it going.”
The tournament continues tomorrow, with the final round on Sunday, and Schwartzel believes he can come back.
“There’s so many holes to go, its just the start,” he said.
“It’s okay for me, I am not out of it.
“You can lose it in the first round, but you can’t win it in the first round.”
Photos: Nathan Drudi