The near walk-off from Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and John Senden’s snapped driver stole the show during round one on the Gold Coast.

But McLeod and Jager were quietly going about their business in the background to construct unmatched rounds of six-under 66.

The 24-year-old McLeod, who won the New South Wales Open earlier this month, currently leads the Order of Merit on the PGA Tour of Australasia – and he will secure a European Tour card for 2019 should he score another hefty cheque this week.

McLeod fired six birdies and was bogey-free in his opening round, which could have been even better had his bunker shot at the par-5 9th not lipped out.

The Queenslander said he felt right at home on the grainy greens of Royal Pines and also praised his mental coach for his recent spike in form.


"I'm always very nervous on the first tee ... Always, no matter what," McLeod said.

“I've seen a new psychologist six months to a year ago now and just the things we've been working on has been really good."

But his solo lead only lasted 50 minutes before Jager birdied his final hole to sign for 66 and share the honours.

The 30-year-old West Australian, who was five-under for the par-5s today, eagled the 12th and 15th holes to rocket up the leaderboard.

“The eagles were a bonus obviously,” said Jager, who won the Australian Amateur Championship in 2010.

“I was giving myself lots of chances and I was lucky enough to roll those ones in on the par-5s when it counted most.”

RIGHT: Jager made two eagles in his opening round at the Australian PGA Championship. PHOTO: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Next in line is Dimi Papadatos, who charged home on his back nine with four birdies to card five-under 67.

The 27-year-old New South Welshman, who sported a Titleist yellow bucket in memory of Jarrod Lyle, has taken plenty of confidence out of finishing runner-up to runaway leader Abraham Ancer at the Australian Open two weeks ago.

“Even though I wasn't really in contention, I sort of got myself in a pretty decent position for the last day,” Papadatos said.

“So I just took a lot out of that and get more confidence, a bit of self-belief maybe.”

South Korean Jae-woong Eon currently shares third place with Papadatos, while tournament draw card Marc Leishman sits a further shot back after his round of four-under 68.

The World No.21 three-putted his first hole (10th) but rallied on his back nine with four birdies and no bogies.

“It was a good day, I didn't have my best stuff. Hit a few scrappy shots,” Leishman said. “But I managed to shoot four under with not my best stuff, so I was happy with that.”

RIGHT: Leishman made four birdies on his back nine and shares fifth place. PHOTO: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Defending champion Cameron Smith sits four shots off the lead thanks to his two-under 70. But it could have been much better without back-to-back bogies on his final two holes.

“(I was) pretty unfortunate to make a couple mistakes on the last couple holes there,” said the 25-year-old Queenslander, who admitted he “struggled a bit with the pace” of the greens.

“(I) had a bit of a dicey lie on 8 over there and wasn't sure how it was going to come out.

“Because I was playing good, I probably went a little bit more aggressive than I should have, but that's something that I was willing to risk.”


Thursday’s opening round of the Australian PGA Championship saw players, officials and spectators wearing yellow clothing to remember and celebrate the life of Jarrod Lyle.

Yesterday, Greg Chalmers said: “Jarrod was a better human being than he was a player – and he was a fabulous player.”