DANISH veteran Thomas Bjorn has labelled Royal Melbourne the world's finest golf course after recovering from early trouble to share the World Cup opening round lead.
Bjorn and American Kevin Streelman each shot five-under-par opening rounds of 66.
The 42-year-old 14-time winner on the European Tour said the challenge posed by the famed sandbelt course gave him enthusiasm for playing that wasn't always there at this stage of his career.
"When you're going to go play Royal Melbourne you get excited about it," he told reporters.
"It's in my eyes probably the finest golf course you can ever play.
"It's a thinker's golf course."
A four-putt for a double-bogey on the fourth didn't spoil Bjorn's mood.
He recovered to birdie six of his last 14 holes, despite most players having found the starting stretch the easier part of the course.
He said it was the many potential trouble spots at Royal Melbourne that made it so engaging.
"It just demands so much off you," he said.
"Anything in red numbers on this golf course on any day is good.
"When you shoot five under you've got to be pretty proud."
Bjorn's teammate Thorbjorn Olesen shot even par, meaning the Danes shared the team lead with the United States on five under.
Bjorn said Olesen, the 23-year-old world No.58, had the potential to be one of the world's finest golfers, and playing with the youngster was what attracted him to the tournament.
"I wanted to come down and take him through one of the best golf courses in the world," he said.
"You've got to play places like this to become a really good player."
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