NORTHERN TASMANIA, AUS (April 13, 2016)--It’s New Zealand versus Glenelg after day one of the boys’ Australian Junior Championship in northern Tasmania.
Kiwi Markopolo Fullepp and compatriot Henry Spring hold a two-shot buffer after firing four-under-par 68s on the testing Ulverstone layout.
Remarkably, Adelaide’s Glenelg Golf Club offers both of Fullepp’s nearest competitors with Jackson Kalz and clubmate Lachlan Barker tied third after impressive 70s – and they were joined late in the afternoon by yet another Kiwi, Daniel Hillier.
Fullepp, who touts himself as a global player on his homepage and represents The Grand Golf Club in San Diego, began with an eagle and closed with a birdie in a quality round marred by just two bogeys.
Spring, of Whakatane, was ultra-consistent and completed the day’s only bogey-free round just before dusk fell.
The South Australian duo was almost as impressive, with both carding just one bogey to highlight their consistency on the tight course.
“I played pretty solid all round. All aspects of my game were on point and I putted good,” Kalz said.“I put it close (couple of times) and executed the shots I needed to, so I’m pretty stoked.”
Barker, like his clubmate a key component of South Australia’s team for next week’s boys’ interstate series, was equally rapt with his opening round.
“Key around this course is keeping it in play which I managed to do for the most part. I only had one bogey and that was a three-putt (on the eighth), so I really kept it in play,” Barker said.
“If I had holed a few more putts it could have been anything, so it’s a really solid start to the tournament.”A few other pre-event fancies didn’t fare as well with national squad junior member Louis Dobbelaar among the casualties.
The young Queenslander was uncharacteristically erratic in shooting a triple-bogey and two doubles en route to an 80 that puts his title hopes in grave jeopardy.
Canberra’s Josh Armstrong dropped all five of his shots to par on the fifth and sixth holes as part of his 77, while Perth’s Fred Lee endured three consecutive double-bogeys in his 76.
Top-ranked Queenslander Charlie Pilon fought back well to record a 73 to keep him in the hunt, not dissimilar to Victorian Cameron John who turned in the same score.
His fellow national squad member Min Woo Lee, of Perth, made two late bogeys in his 74.
A cut to the top 60 and ties will be made following tomorrow’s second round.
GIRL'S ROUND ONE RECAP
Neither are in front, but Stef Hall and Becky Kay have plenty to like about their Australian Junior Championship chances after an entertaining first day at Devonport Golf Club.
New Zealand’s Momoka Kobori leads after a day of low scores, her seven-under-par 67 the culmination of some precision iron play on a lovely day in northern Tasmania.
But Hall and Kay, both of whom have experience representing Australia, sit handily just one back after 68s that left each delighted with their progress.Hall, 16, came out of the blocks in dazzling form, canning “pretty much everything I looked at” with her red-hot putter.
The Year 11 student at Shellharbour Anglican College near Wollongong said her game had improved greatly since playing for Australia in the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship in Taiwan in August.
“With my coach Steve McRae (from Russell Vale Golf Club near Bulli), I’ve really put a lot more work into course preparation and planning and it’s probably taken a couple of shots off (per round),” said Hall, who opened with four consecutive birdies and six in her first seven holes.
“It gives me confidence that I know what I’m going to (confront) before each round.”
Hall’s six-under round was her best score ever to par and featured an 11m bomb for a birdie two on the 14th, but surprisingly no further inroads on the back-nine par-5s.
Conversely, Gold Coaster Kay made light work of the late long holes, with eagles on the 11th and 13th holes to charge through the field.
That was a far cry from the early part of the Golf Australia national squad member’s round when she “couldn’t make a putt”.
“I was a couple over (after six) but I just made a birdie putt or two and then things started going in,” said the Coolangatta-Tweed member who has put behind her some indifferent results earlier in the summer.
“I’ve definitely improved since then and I’m getting stronger with all the work we are doing. It’s much better now that I actually know what’s happening on the course when I go out there again.,” she said with a laugh.
Toowoomba’s Darcy Hobgood and Mandurah’s Kathryn Norris sit tied fourth at five under, while top-ranked Karis Davidson, of Sanctuary Cove, is among a group of four at four under.
Defending champ Celina Yuan, of Sydney, finished at one under, as did Victorian Kono Matsumoto who rattled off four late birdies after her chances looked to be waning early.
The top 60 and ties after tomorrow’s second round will advance to the final 36 holes on Friday.
View results for Australian Junior Championships