Shae Wools-Cobb takes the early lead at Royal Wellington Golf Club
(Asia-Pacific Amateur Photo)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (October 26, 2017) - Australia’s Shae Wools-Cobb
, 21, carded an eight-under-par 63 at Royal Wellington Golf Club Thursday to claim the first-round lead in the ninth Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC).
The AAC debutant finished four shots ahead of his Japanese playing partner Sean Maruyama – son of three-time PGA Tour winner Shigeki Maruyama – Australian teammate Min Woo Lee, New Zealand’s Nick Voke and Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines.
Related: Masters, British Open spots up for grabs at Asia-Pacific
China’s Andy Zhang and Lin Yuxin each carded 69 to share sixth place with New Zealander Kerry Mountcastle, Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan and Indonesia’s Almay Rayhan Yagutah.
The day belonged to Wools-Cobb, who flew under the radar as the fifth-ranked Australian in the field before his 63 equalled the second-lowest round in AAC history. The championship rewards the winner with spots in the 2018 Masters Tournament and The 147th Open at Carnoustie.
Starting with three successive birdies from hole 10, Wools-Cobb picked up another at 16 then flew ahead with an eagle at the par-five 18th to tie the championship record for low first nine (29).
The Queenslander then extended his lead with birdies on one, three and four before dropping his only shot of the day at the par-four sixth after he narrowly missed the green with his approach.
“I had so much fun out there and it was pretty stress‑free. I really enjoyed my day and hopefully I can do much the same in the last three rounds,” Wools-Cobb said.
“I holed some pretty good putts on the 10th and 11th and then hit it pretty close on 12, so that was a nice way to kick off the round,” he continued. “For the eagle, I didn’t hit the greatest drive, but it was down the middle. I didn’t really know if I wanted to go for the green, but I had to man up, then hit three‑wood to 20 feet and holed a really nice putt. I hit some good shots on my second nine to keep the momentum going.”
Maruyama, also making his AAC debut, started with an even-par first nine then collected five birdies and a bogey coming in, but the 17-year-old still felt overshadowed by his playing partner.
“The first nine was pretty tough. I missed a bunch of putts and hit my driver in the woods, but on the back nine I really got it going, my putter got hot and it was a great finish,” said Maruyama, who is in his final year of high school in Los Angeles.
“Playing with Shae motivated me, but it made my round look not so good,” Maruyama said. “It was great watching him. He was hitting it well every time and I think it got me going as well.”
Voke, New Zealand’s top-ranked amateur playing in his fourth AAC, also teed off on 10 and led the local charge with a bogey-free card, picking up birdies on hole Nos. 10, 17, 2 and 4.
Lee, 34th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, put to bed any pre-event concerns he had about having his coach Ritchie Smith as his caddie by carding seven birdies against three bogeys.
“I was a little worried about how it would go at first, but luckily it turned out really well. I thought we worked pretty well together,” said the 19-year-old Lee, who is in no rush to catch his compatriot. “Shae did have a good round, but I am going to stick to my game plan and not try to catch him. You don’t win it on Thursday; you only lose it on Thursday. I still have three more rounds so I will see how I go.”
ABOUT THE Asia-Pacific Amateur
The Asia-Pacific Amateur (formerly known as the
Asian Amateur) is the first of a series of
championships put together by a between the
Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters
Tournament and The R&A. The event offers the
winner an invitation to the Masters Tournament at
Augusta National Golf Club and the British Open
The event has historically moved throughout the
region and has now been held in China,
Japan, Singapore, Thailand,
Australia and Hong Kong, Korea, and New
A field, topping out at 120 players, is selected by
The top two ranked amateur players from
of the APGC member countries plus the four
top ranked players from the host country. If
there is not a sufficient number of players
ranked from that member country, the
country may nominate a player(s) from
country, to be approved by the APGC, to
the two positions eligible from that country.
The remainder of the field will be filled
the next highest ranked players of APGC
member countries, not otherwise qualified.
maximum number of eligible players from
APGC member country (with the exception
the host country) is six. Additional players may
be offered at the event's discretion.
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