(Reuters) - New Zealand’s Daniel Pearce roared up the leaderboard with a scintillating start on his back nine to card a six-under 66 for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Fiji International on Thursday.
Pearce, who started his round at the 10th hole, eagled the par-five first before making three birdies in succession at the seaside Natadola Bay Golf Course.
New Zealander Ben Campbell and Australia’s Daniel Valente both mounted late charges to finish one behind in joint second, with Malaysia’s Gavin Green a shot further adrift with a clutch of Australians at the European Tour event, which is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour.
Local favorite Vijay Singh was five back on one-under, the former world number one and triple major champion carrying an elbow injury through a typically windy day at Sigatoka.
“Before the round started if you told me I’d take one-under, I would because it was supposed to be pretty breezy,” Singh told reporters.
“I was suspect to play. It’s really bugging me (when) I get to the top of my back-swing, so I had to shorten my back-swing to play,” he said of the elbow problem.
“But considering I was hurting that bad, I played OK.”
Twice major champion Angel Cabrera faltered with three bogeys in his last five holes to finish with an even-par 72, along with fellow U.S. Masters winner Mike Weir.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford