Herbert, Rankin surprise leaders at Australian PGA

Australians Lucas Herbert and Brett Rankin are the surprise leaders following the first day’s play at the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast.

The pair each carded a superb 5-under 67 around the Royal Pines Resort and sit one shot ahead of a solid five-way pack which includes young Western Australian star Min Woo Lee, Wade Ormsby, 2014 Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen, Travis Smyth and Kiwi Ryan Chisnall.

Adam Scott Adam Scott all smiles following his 4-under 68 (Credit: PGA Australia)

“I’m really happy with the year,” said Rankin, whose haul this season has included the NT PGA Championship along with seven Pro-Am titles.

“It’s been a year of firsts and I’m definitely happy with where the game is at the moment.”

“Winning the NT PGA gives you that confidence you know you can do it, that your best golf can win on this tour.

“You win a tour event, and the next you’re like, OK, I belong here.”

Min Woo Lee left a huge impression on his more seasoned group members, Adam Scott and Stewart Cink, with his grinding opening round 4-under 68.

Lee appeared to buckle under the pressure early in his round with bogeys at the 1st and 4th holes before composing himself with a string of six birdies from the 6th to 15th holes.

“He’s got a pretty swing and hits it a long way but it was good to see him compose himself,” said Scott.

“He hung in there for a few holes after his poor start…and got on a bit of a roll there nicely.”

“They’re good qualities to see out there because it was easy for it to really get away from you today if you just were a little bit off.”

Scott, Cink and Min Woo Lee will be the first group off the 10th tee at 6am on Friday morning with Jason Norris, Rhein Gibson and 2018 Australian Open runner-up Dimi Papadatos to kick off play from the first.

The group of Cameron Smith, Ryan Fox and Cameron Champ will begin their second rounds from the first tee at 11am AEST.