John Senden: Two-shot lead in Sydney after opening 66
Home favourite John Senden set the early pace at the Australian Open as he carded a superb opening 66 to end the day with a two-shot lead.The 41-year-old Queenslander made the most of favourable morning conditions to post a six-under-par target that nobody was able to match.After starting with a birdie, Senden found himself over-par after back-to-back bogeys at two and three, but he responded in fine style and seven birdies in 11 holes between the seventh and 17th ensured he moved clear at the top of the leaderboard.World number four Justin Rose heads the chasing pack as he fired a 68 to finish level with Australians Brendan Jones, Kim Felton and Richard Green and Gareth Paddison of New Zealand.First round leaderboard(Aus unless stated)
-6 J Senden
-4 K Felton
-4 R Green
-4 B Jones
-4 G Paddison (Nzl)
-4 J Rose (Eng)
Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field, produced a back-nine charge with five birdies moving him from one-over to four-under by the close.
Three more Australians, Stephen Allan, Nick Flanagan and Marcus Fraser share seventh three shots back after solid 69s.
Meanwhile, Fraser, who found himself three-over after 10 holes, also earned shot-of-the-day honours with a hole-in-one at the par-three 15th.
Veterans Peter O'Malley and Stuart Appleby are among a cluster of players at two-under, alongside Marc Leishman and Josh Geary who posted impressive 70s after getting the worst of the blustery conditions late in the day.
Reigning champion Greg Chalmers kicked off his defence with a respectable 71 to be one shot clear of pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott who, using his broomstick putter, battled to an even-par 72 along with America's Kyle Stanley.
Eight-time major winner Tom Watson toiled to a 78 that included six bogeys and two doubles while, at the other end of the age spectrum, 14-year-old Chinese star Guan Tianlang - who qualified for the US Masters last month - also found the going tough on the way to a 10-over 82.