The Australian duo posted eight birdies and an eagle to move to 10-under 62 alongside South Korea and England at Metropolitan Golf Club in South Oakleigh.

Smith, 25, produced four of the home team’s birdies and their lone eagle – which came at the par-5 4th – and he didn’t take long to pot his partner, who plays with the same level of nonchalance.

“I think we just combined really well,” Smith said.

“We kept chatting all day and I gave Leish a bit of an uppercut under the ribs after 4 … I said, ‘You know, you can turn up any time.’”

Leishman obliged.


The highest-ranked player in the field (at World No.21) boarded the birdie train at the par-3 6th and was back on board at the 7th, 9th and 13th holes.

But the Victorian was quick to deflect any credit for the Australian side’s performance, heaping praise on his Brisbane-born team mate.

“Cam putted great, he played very smart,” Leishman said. “Hopefully he can keep the putter hot and I can hit them close tomorrow so I can make a few.”

“We kept chatting all day and I gave Leish a bit of an uppercut under the ribs after 4 … I said, ‘You know, you can turn up any time.’” – Cameron Smith

The Aussies will tee off at 12:35pm tomorrow for the foursomes – and will play alongside the Malaysian side of Gavin Green and Ben Leong, who are visiting the Sandbelt for the very first time and signed for nine-under 63.

Playing in the group ahead of the Australians, Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter bolted home with six birdies to ensure team England will also sleep on a share of the lead.

The 42-year-old Poulter provided five of those birdies and is pleased with his side’s position ahead of the foursomes.

Hatton and Poulter carded 10 birdies in their blemish-free opening round. PHOTO: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.

“Foursomes is a completely different game,” Poulter said.

“This golf course will be a lot more difficult tomorrow and obviously Sunday, so we’ve got a couple of days of enjoyable golf and then there’s a couple days of stressful golf.”

Hatton, meanwhile, wasn’t happy with his back nine – despite making birdie at 11 – and is hoping a steak dinner and a night in the Jacuzzi will help him reset ahead of his tee time at 12:45pm.

“It was a frustrating back nine for me, I’m pretty disappointed with that,” Hatton said. “I was very fortunate to have Ian by my side and he played great today.

“I’m going to go in the Jacuzzi – that’s all I’m going to do – and eat a nice big steak.”