Haikou: Australia took the lead in the first round of the World Cup on Thursday after shooting an 11-under 61, finishing two strokes ahead of tournament favorites Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell of the Ireland team.
Richard Green and Brendon Jones totaled seven birdies and an eagle on the par-72 Blackstone course at Mission Hills golf resort on the South China island of Hainan.
The pair finished in a share of third place in 2008 for Australia, which won the last of its four World Cup titles in 1989.
Ireland made ground on the Australians on the back nine with McIlroy, ranked No. 2 and the US Open champion, holing five birdies and an eagle. McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner, had two birdies.