(Reuters) – World number one Luke Donald seized an early advantage in his title duel with Webb Simpson by charging into a seven-way tie for the lead in yesterday’s opening round of the Disney Classic at Lake Buena Vista in Florida.
Briton Donald coped well with breezy conditions as he fired a flawless six-under-par 66 on the Palm course, one of two layouts hosting the final PGA Tour event of the season.
That lifted him to the top of the leaderboard, alongside Americans James Driscoll, Gary Woodland, Scott Stallings and Derek Lamely, India’s Arjun Atwal and Australian Nathan Green.
Steven Bowditch of Australia carded a seven-birdie 68 on the more difficult Magnolia layout to lie one stroke off the pace with six other players.
American Simpson, who is vying with Donald for the PGA Tour’s money list title and possibly also player of the year honours, opened with a bogey-free 68 on the Palm course.
With their head-to-head battle the biggest storyline of the week, the two have been paired together by organisers for the first two rounds and they each relished the opening day.
“We get along fine and we had a little light-hearted banter going today,” a smiling Donald told reporters after recording four birdies on his outward nine and two more after the turn.
“He asked when I was having my off-season and I said, ‘Well, it was going to be this week. Thanks for playing the last two weeks’.”