Herbert and Rankin lead home charge at Australian PGA

Although it is co-sanctioned with the European Tour, Australians and New Zealanders held early sway at the Australian PGA Championship.

Lucas Herbert and Brett Rankin set the early pace at the Australian PGA Championship as home players and New Zealanders dominated the leaderboard.

Although the tournament is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour, it was a near lockout on the leaderboard as Australians and Kiwis held down the top 14 positions.

Five-under-par rounds of 67 put Australian duo Herbert and Rankin in a share of the lead, one clear of their compatriots Nick Cullen, Travis Smyth, Wade Ormsby and Min Woo Lee and New Zealand's Ryan Chisnall.

Australia's former World No. 1 Adam Scott was one of 16 players tied for 15th place on two-under 70, with American Stewart Cink, a former Open champion, also on that mark.

The tournament, at the Royal Pines course on the Gold Coast, saw Herbert, troubled by a wrist injury recently, make an encouraging start.

The 24-year-old picked up four shots in his opening three holes, after starting at the 10th, before quickly giving back three of those.

However, birdies at the first, sixth, eighth and ninth, where he made a monster putt, carried him to the top of the leaderboard.

Herbert said on the European Tour website: "Good start. I've either missed the cut or finished top 10 here so it's got to go either way.

"I struggled last year, it's good to start the way I have, especially after not playing a lot of golf recently."

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