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American gets help at Royal Melbourne

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Kevin Streelman received what turned out to be some vital local knowledge before his first round in the World Cup at Royal Melbourne.

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During a practice round Tuesday, 19-year-old Royal Melbourne member Darcy Brereton was following Streelman when the American asked him to walk inside the ropes.

On Wednesday, Streelman asked Brereton to be his caddie during the pro-am.

On Thursday, Streelman finished tied for the lead with Denmark's Thomas Bjorg, and Brereton tagged along for the final few holes with the American and his regular caddie.

''He just knew every break on these greens, so we kind of picked his brains a little bit, where to leave shots and where you can't leave shots,'' Streelman said. ''He helped out a lot so it was fun having him with me.''

Brereton plays off a handicap of plus-1 and lives a few minutes from the course.

''You try and be really good to people and he's a good kid who wants to be a professional golfer as well,'' Streelman added. ''It's all about relationships in the end anyway.''

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A REASON TO GET UP: The composite course at Royal Melbourne has apparently gotten Danish veteran Thomas Bjorn excited about playing golf every day again.

''You wake up in the morning and when you are 42-years-old it's not every time you wake up and think, `I am going to go and play golf today,''' Bjorn said after finishing the first round tied for the lead with American Kevin Streelman.

''But when you are going to go and play Royal Melbourne you kind of get excited about it. It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play. You have got to play smart golf and I could play (here) every day for the rest of my life.''

Royal Melbourne is one of the so-called sandbelt courses in bayside southeast Melbourne that includes Metropolitan, which hosted the 2001 world match-play championship, Kingston Heath, Commonwealth, Huntingdale and Yarra Yarra.

This is the fourth time the World Cup has been at Royal Melbourne, which also hosted the Presidents Cup in 1998 and 2011.

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A FIRST FOR BANGLADESH: Asian Tour player Siddikur Rahman's opening round of 73, seven strokes behind the leaders, marked the first time a Bangladeshi has competed in the 60-year history of the World Cup.

Siddikur, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, won the Indian Open two weeks ago, his second Asian Tour title, to ensure he'd finish in the top 10 in the Order of Merit.

He grew up as a ball boy at a local club in Dhaka and began playing the game with a makeshift 7-iron head stuck on a metal rod.

''I'm proud with what I have achieved,'' Siddikur said. ''I have received a lot of messages from my fans and friends on Facebook and emails and they are encouraging me to play well. It's good for me and good for golf in Bangladesh.''

Siddikur also hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when golf returns to the program.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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