Australian Men's Am: 18-year-old Kai Komulainen leads after the opening round
Kai Komulainen (Golf Australia Photo)
Kai Komulainen of Queensland had his own moment of turning back the clock by seizing the lead in the men’s amateur with a 6-under par 64 at Yarra Yarra Golf Club in tricky, hot conditions.
Komulainen led through one round of the tournament in Sydney this time last year before dropping outside the top 20 through the week.
Komulainen is a shot ahead of New Zealander Mitchell Kale, who shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 at Keysborough, and another shot ahead of Noah Kent, who shot a 4-under 68 at Keysborough.
Yarra Yarra Golf Club local Phoenix Campbell opened with 1-under 69, and Jasper Stubbs, the winner of the 2023 Asia-Pacific Amateur, struggled to an opening 5-over 77 at Keysborough.
Komulainen had a 7:39 a.m. tee-off at Yarra Yarra, where a fierce overnight storm had left pools of water on low parts of the course and flooded many of the bunkers.
But the wind was down for the first part of his round, and he capitalized on it nicely with six birdies, two bogeys, and an eagle at the short par-4 fifth hole, where he drove the green.
“It was tougher than I expected,” Komulainen said. “The wind wasn’t supposed to be that strong, so I was surprised when it started to pick up.”
Komulainen is feeling his way at this level, having competed in a few professional events over the last year.
“I felt like the small fish in the big pond back then, but I really do feel like I belong in these fields. If I play well, I can compete with these guys.”
Komulainen was a prolific junior winner including multiple state boys championships, but his future is in the United States, where he heads in August to join the Tennessee Volunteers.
ABOUT THE Australian Men's Amateur
The Australian Men's and Women's
Championships are Australia's oldest
Golf Championships, with both having
played since 1894. Long held as a match play event,
in 2021 the format changed to 72 holes
of stroke play.
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