A LOCAL teenager unwittingly became a valuable aide to help steer the US to joint leadership after the World Cup first round.
American Kevin Streelman credited young Royal Melbourne member Darcy Brereton's knowledge of the course as a critical factor in his five-under 66 yesterday.
Brereton, 19, was just another spectator when he met Streelman during a practice round on Tuesday and then caddied for him during the pro-am the following day.
"We picked his brains where to leave shots and he knew every break on these greens. He's a good kid who wants to be a professional golfer as well. So, we invited him along. It's all about relationships and he picked our brains about that and he showed us around the course,'' Streelman said.
The fresh-faced Brereton, a +1 handicapper, is working for Cobra-Puma golf during a gap year after completing his VCE at St Bedes College in Mentone and he walked with the American again yesterday.
"Myself and a mate decided to go out one morning and we decided to follow Kevin. We got talking to him and he started asking about the course,'' Brereton said.
Streelman, on his first visit to Australia, heeded the advice to keep the ball below the hole on the quickening greens for the low round matched only by experienced Dane Thomas Bjorn.
Welshman Stuart Manley, Korea's K.J. Choi and Scot Martin Laird are a shot further back at -4, one clear of Day after his three-under 68 became crucial restoration work for the host nation.
With sun and wind increasing the pace of the greens compared to last week's Masters, only 12 of the 60 players managed to break par.
Bjorn rekindled his love affair with Royal Melbourne for the first time since missing the halfway cut at the Heineken Classic in February, 2005.
And he's still in awe of the famed Composite course despite a four-putts double bogey from 8m at the 401m fourth. It was one of four other doubles and 17 bogeys on the treacherous green that slopes from back to front.
The 42-year-old Dane said he was still excited to get out of bed to prepare to tackle the daunting course at Black Rock.
"In my eyes, it's the finest golf course you could play. I could play it for the rest of my life,'' he said.
"It's one golf course where you've got to play really smart. The key is you can make a lot happen on the first six holes and then it turns very tricky.
"You're hitting wedge and nine-iron (approach shots) and you're hitting 20 feet away from the hole because this golf course will bite you if you get too cute.
Adam Scott struggles on the opening day of the World Cup of Golf finishing four-over par, while fellow Aussie Jason Day fares better posting a first round 68.