WOLLONGONG, Australia (April 5, 2017) -- Four players sit tied for the lead after round one of the Australian Boys' Amateur Championship at Wollongong Golf Club.
Queensland’s Norman Bonnet was joined by New South Wales pair Jones Comerford and Jordie Garner after posting impressive three-under-par 66’s in perfect morning conditions.
Then late on the first day, New Zealander Tom Parker joined the party after four birdies and just one bogey in his opening round.
One shot behind in fifth place sits Victorian Nathan Page and Queenslander Zach Maxwell at two under par. Three players sit in a tie for seventh place at one under: William Arnold, Matthew Edwards and Connor McDade.
Queenslander Bonnet, playing in the second group of the day, was the first of the leading trio to complete his round. The softly-spoken 17-year-old was happy with his morning's effort.
“I played solid from tee to green, I made a few putts which kept me in the round, a couple of saves early and some birdies on the back nine,” he said.
Bonnet, from the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, was unfazed by the wet conditions.
“There is no run in the fairways, but that’s alright,” he said. ”If you hit good drives you only have short clubs in."
Originally from New Caledonia, Bonnet is looking forward to the rest of the week. “I’m looking forward to posting a few more good scores,” Bonnet said.
Comerford jumped out of the blocks with a chip-in birdie on the first hole. The 17-year-old from Dubbo then finished his round in style with a hole-out for eagle on the 18th to complete his 3-under par score.
“The chip-in on the first gave me some momentum,” Comerford said.” It was just really steady golf from there.
“It’s good to have the lead. I wanted to post something to get comfortable,”
“And it was fun to see that one drop on 18. Maybe a bit lucky, but I’ll take it,” Comerford said with a grin.
Sitting alongside Comerford is his NSW boys’ squad teammate, Jordie Garner.
"I’m pretty thrilled with the score really,” Garner said.
“I got off to a good start, I was two under through four or five holes, then it was a bit of grind with the wind getting up, though,” Garner said.
Despite the damp conditions, Garner was sure the course would get harder and begin to bare its teeth.
“With the wind getting up, the greens are going to get firmer; they can be real tough to putt on. You’ve got to keep your short game on point around here,”
Garner believes the key to winning the tournament will be to maintain his routine.
“I’ve got to not get ahead of myself around here, that’s the way to play.” he said.
New Zealand’s Tom Parker joined the party late in the day, with the best round of the afternoon players.
The 17 year old from Christchurch was relaxed about joining the leaders.
“It was a solid round, I kept the ball in play,” he said. “ I could’ve holed a few more putts, hopefully they will come tomorrow.”
Parker kick-started his round with a birdie on the par three 5th hole.
“I was playing a bitt scrappy till there, I managed to hole a 15 foot putt and it gave me some confidence,
The Kiwi felt the soft state of the course suited his game and he believed he had the shot variety to cope with the conditions.
“It means I can attack a few more flags out there,
“The difficulty is controlling the spin, I like hitting softer shots to be able to do that,”
Parker feels the trick to staying in contention is to keep hitting fairways.
“Just keep the pall in play, hit greens and the putts will come,” he smiled.
New South Wales’ Hannah Park and Victorian Kono Matsumoto lead the Australian Girls' Amateur Championship after carding matching 3-under par 70 rounds at Port Kembla Golf Club today.
Sitting in second place a shot behind is West Australian Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, while another shot adrift is the trio of New South Wales’ Doey Choi, West Australian Eve Cohen and New Zealand’s Rose Zheng.
Park, who finished fifth in the 2016 Australian Girls' Amateur at Devonport, Tasmania, had birdies on the 5th, 7th and 8th holes this morning in a blemish-free front nine to start her tournament.
Park's only blemish was a bogey on the par-four 13th hole. The New South Wales Golf Club member erased the error soon afterwards, however, with a birdie on the tough par-four 17th.
"I played good actually," Park said.
"I had a couple of bad shots, but I recovered well. My short game was good and my putting was very helpful.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," she said with a smile.
Matsumoto, from Victoria Golf Club, recorded two bogeys and three birdies on her front nine for a respectable one-under par 36. She added another birdie on the par-3 15th, then capped off her day with an excellent birdie four on the 18th to complete her round.
"I played pretty well," the 2014 champion said.
"My approach shots were good, I hit some really close, I had lots of chances."
Matsumoto is in her final year of junior competition and the 17-year-old is out to impress in her final outing in the championship.
"It's my last Australian junior and I want to play well, I want to have fun," she said with a smile.
View results for Australian Junior Championships