Blake Windred (AAC photo)
Blake Windred’s game travels, that much is clear. For the Australian, the last few years have been something of a golf apprenticeship. If all goes as planned, it will lead the 21-year-old to a successful professional career.
For now, Windred has established himself as an Asia-Pacific Amateur record holder. He opened the 72-hole event at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China with a 9-under 63 to take a two-shot lead in a deep field of regional talent.
Playing in the afternoon in perfect conditions, the Newcastle native finished with four consecutive birdies in a bogey-free round that matched the 9-under effort of Japan’s Kenta Konishi in the final round of the 2012 AAC at Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand.
Windred, ranked No. 11 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, made four birdies from Nos. 2-7, then added just one more over the next seven holes before his final birdie run, which effectively set him apart from the field.
“I just did not want it to end. I was just enjoying it so much and I’m just shattered it’s ended,” said Windred, who had never shot a 63 before.
“Very pleased with the way I played. I think I kind of ticked every goal I had set, so that’s always good. I felt like I executed every shot pretty much down the stretch. I didn’t even realize I birdied the last four until I signed the scorecard.
“The first nine, I kind of struggled getting the pace. I just felt like I could have rolled in a few more. I’m so happy I stayed patient and didn’t start to force it because I knew I had the lines. I was hitting fairways. So, there was always an opportunity to make some down the stretch.”
Aussie apprentice: Windred plays amateur golf like it's his job
Windred played amateur events in four of the six weeks leading up to the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, where he bowed out in the first round of match play. He has done something similar the past three years. His U.S. circuit generally comes after playing a full amateur schedule during the Australian summer, which is winter stateside.
Working with a performance coach through Golf New South Wales, Windred has tried to improve his mental game. It’s the area in which he felt he was being held back – the area that might help him get to the next level.
Windred had planning on turning professional after the Asia-Pacific Amateur, but will put that decision on hold if he does win the trophy on Sunday.
“If I was to win, I would definitely be playing the majors (2020 Masters and The Open). But it’s just the first quarter. It’s a great start, but yeah, we’ve still got three rounds to go,” he added.
“I guess (winning this) is something that I’ve practiced very hard for, like everyone else. I’ve been working extremely hard on every aspect of my game, and the goal is to win this week. There’s no sugarcoating it; I need to win and that’s it. There’s no other option.
“I’m not going to get ahead of myself, but at the same time, why not embrace all that other stuff and just keep it going. Make a few more birdies tomorrow hopefully.”
After the first day, Korean team members Junhong Park and Jun Min Lee trail Windred most closely, with opening rounds of 65 and 68, respectively.
Lee is part of a larger group tied for third at 4 under that includes two Chinese players: Yuxin Lin and Enhua Liu.
Defending champion Takumi Kanaya opened with a round of even-par 72 to leave him in a four-way tie for 24th.
Quotes and information from the Asia-Pacific Amateur used in this report
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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