Derksen's career day yields early lead
PERTH, Australia -- Dutch golfer Robert-Jan Derksen made eight birdies to shoot an 8-under 64 on Thursday and take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Johnnie Walker Classic at The Vines.
New European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and American Anthony Kang, who won the Malaysian Open last week, were at 5 under in a group of seven that also contained New Zealand amateur Danny Lee, Ireland's Peter Lawrie, Spain's Ignacio Garrido and Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita.
Anthony Kim was a stroke further back after a 68.
After managing just one birdie in his first seven holes, Derksen had four straight from the eighth.
The 35-year-old Dutchman, whose tour European Tour wins including the 2003 Dubai Desert Classic, missed a birdie putt on the 14th, but then birdied three of the last four holes to finish with his lowest round ever on the European Tour.
"It's a good start and it's always nice to have, but there's a lot of golf to be played," Derksen said.
Mardan, the 2006 Singapore Masters champion, birdied his last three holes to finish a shot off the pace.
Westwood struggled early in his first trip to Australia since 2003 but recovered with birdies on four of his last seven holes.
"I started off hitting a couple of poor shots, a couple of pulls and got away with one but I corrected the fault," Westwood said. "I started hitting good shots after that and I played well for the last 12 holes."
Westwood was playing in the same group as 54-year-old Greg Norman, playing his first regular, non-senior tournament appearance since last year's British Open, where he led after three rounds and finished third.
Norman was 3-over after the first round after struggling with his putter, leaving him in danger of missing the cut.
"I actually felt pretty good. I putted terribly but that was about it," he said. "A 75 was a bit of a shock to me ... The putter let me down. If I'd putted halfway decent I would have shot probably sub-70."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press