Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have clubhouse leaders Malaysia within reach after a hot front nine on day one of the World Cup of Golf.
Malaysian duo Gavin Green and Ben Leong took advantage of calm morning conditions during a nine-under-par 63 at Metropolitan Golf Club on Thursday during the four-ball (best ball) format.
But Leishman and Smith are just three shots back halfway through their round having picked up an eagle and four birdies on the front side to live up to their tournament favouritism.
Malaysia currently holds a one-shot lead over Ireland's Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne at eight under, while Italy (Andrea Pavin and Renato Paratore) Sweden (Alexander Bjork and Joakim Lagergren) and Venezuela (Jhonattan Vegas and Joseph Naffah) are at seven under.
Finland duo Mikko Ilonen and Mikko Korhonen are in the clubhouse at six under courtesy of a 66.
Unheralded World No.398 Leon said it was comforting to have experienced European Tour player Green by his side.
"Gavin calmed me down after I was really nervous on the first hole, so that was great," Leong said.
RIGHT: Leishman and Smith are within reach of the lead during day one of the World Cup. PHOTO: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.
Green says the pair had no expectations for the unofficial US$7 million (AU$9.6 million) PGA Tour event that sees 28 two-man teams contest two rounds of four-ball and two rounds of foursomes.
"I don't know if we flew under the radar but we definitely just thought we wanted to come down (to Melbourne) and have fun," Green said.
Meanwhile, defending champions Denmark (Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen) sit at six under through 10 holes, equal with American drawcards Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley (nine holes).
England stars Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton are a shot back at five under having just made the turn.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press