McLeod shoots European debut

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Jake McLeod started strong in Saudi Arabia. Image: Getty

Jake McLeod started his life as a European Tour professional with a bang in Saudi Arabia last night.

McLeod, the 24-year-old Queenslander who won Australia last year, rolled five consecutive birdies in the first five holes towards an opening of five-under-65 in the Saudi International at Royal Greens Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City .

McLeod is a shared second place, only two shots from the leader of Thomas Pieters from Belgium.

The man from the far north of Queensland has had an explosive in the last 12 months, including his first pro victory, the New South Wales Open and a third place in the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes in November.

It was through his playing at home that he earned full playing rights on the European Tour, and the Saudi International is his first start.

Another young Australian, Perth's Min Woo Lee, began with a one-par 69 including three straight birdies on the front nine to sit 46th in just his second start as a professional.

Meanwhile, Cameron Smith in Scottsdale, Arizona made a birdie bird late in the day to fight in the Phoenix Open

Smith scored an opening 67 with five birdies and an opening bogey where he missed a well within a meter.

The Queenslander is in the top 10, only three shots from the leaders, Americans Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas (64).

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