Moscatel (63) leads Aussie PGA; Smith 10 back

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BRISBANE, Australia — Joel Moscatel got over the disappointment of missing out on a DP World Tour card by producing a course record 63 Thursday to the lead the Australian PGA Championship on a day when Cam Smith‘s title defense got off to a shaky start.

The 25-year-old Spanish player missed his full card by one shot in the qualifying tournament last week, but on the first day of the European tour season he finished the first round at Royal Queensland Golf Club at 8 under.

Moscatel is one shot ahead of Min Woo Lee.

“It was a crazy day, we were so present, enjoying our golf,” Moscatel said of himself and his caddy.

John Lyras was in third place at 6 under after an opening 65, with Adam Scott among a group of six players at 5 under including Connor Syme of Scotland and Ryo Hisatsune of Japan.

Scott was 1 over through five holes but made five birdies in six holes around the turn and closed with two more on the last three holes to finish with a 66 and improve his chances of a third Australian PGA title.

“I’m just happy to have played a solid round and starting on the right foot,” Scott said.

The same can’t be said for defending champion and hometown favorite Cam Smith, who was 2 over after opening with a 73.

“It was frustrating, upsetting … I really couldn’t get anything going,” Smith said.

The tournament is co-sanctioned by the European and Australasian Tours, and counted as Smith’s first title on the European tour when he won it in 2017.

Royal Queensland, established in 1920 and located along the northern bank of the Brisbane River, is the proposed golf venue for the 2032 Olympics.

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