Aussie rules!

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

BRAGG CREEK -- History, they say, always repeats itself.

This was clearly the case yesterday as David McKenzie matched his own course record and took a one-stroke lead after the first round at the Alberta Classic.

The Melbourne, Australia native, who was narrowly beaten by Canadian David Hearn at last year's Nationwide Tour event at Redwood Meadows, shot 6-under 65 to take a stroke lead over Chad Collins and Matt Bettencourt.

"I played pretty aggressively and I hit driver on a couple of par-5s that a lot of the other guys probably wouldn't," said McKenzie after making eight birdies and two bogeys in yesterday's history-repeating feat.

"I had a lot of good chances and made a few. Hopefully I'll do it again tomorrow. Basically when I hit the rough I got some good lies and made some putts. It was uneventful."

Calgary-born Chris Baryla, a late substitute for this week's tournament, was the top Canadian on the day after he carded a 4-under 67 to share a five-way tie for fifth place.

"I've never been out here before, so I was just trying to hit some good shots," said Baryla. "I played fairly conservatively and just tried to get a feel for the course. That was the main goal."

Collins and Per-Ulrik Johansson made some early noise yesterday as they both aced the 235-yard par-3 No. 13 during the morning tee offs.

For Collins, the ace came as kind of a surprise as he didn't see it role into the cup.

"I didn't see the hole-in-one because it was over in the shadows from the trees," explained the 26-year-old from Indianapolis. "I saw where it hit and roll up and over in that direction but there was only one person up there - one of the spotters. Apparently he was clapping but I didn't see him or hear him and we got up there and it was nowhere to be found, so I knew it had to be in the hole."

For McKenzie, being in the lead is nothing new to him, however keeping it has been the problem in the past.

Including last year's loss at the Alberta Classic, the 38-year-old was a runner-up three times in 2004. So far this season, his best finish was tie for third at the inaugural Xerox Classic in Rochester, N.Y.

"It doesn't matter where coming first is, I'd just be happy to come first," said McKenzie.

Tee times for today's second round will begin at 8 a.m.


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