Chris Gray heads morning field at Victorian Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Von Nida Tour | 2004 Victorian Open | Round One | 23 Jan 2004
Western Australian professional Chris Gray leads the field during the 1st round of the 2004 Mitsubishi Motors Victorian Open played at the Woodlands Golf Club on Friday January 23rd.
With half of the 158-player starting field now back in the clubhouse, Gray fired a superb six-under-par round of 66 to lead by two strokes from Victorian professionals Cameron Percy and David Diaz who returned four-under 68’s.
A further stroke away is Ballarat professional Tony Collier and Queensland’s Ryan Haller who each fired 69’s. Of the other notable morning players, 2001 Vic Open winner Scott Laycock survived a shaky start to return a one-under-par 71, 1992 Champion Ian Stanley a 76 while pre-tournament favourite Chris Downes had a disappointing 77.
In fine and sunny conditions with a moderate southerly breeze blowing across the course, Gray started steadily with an outward nine of two-under 34 highlighted by birdies on the par three 5th and par four 7th. He then lit up with three consecutive birdies on the par four 12th, 13th and 14th before adding a further birdie on the par five 18th for a bogey free 66.
A professional since 1990 and a winner of the 2000 South Australian PGA, Gray had his best season on the Australasian PGA Tour back in 1994 when he finished eleventh including a second in the Canon Challenge. After struggling for form in recent years, Gray will be looking for continued good play in the remainder of the 54-hole event.
Best amateur score of the morning was returned from Victorian Colts Team member David Walker with a two-under-par round of 70. Youngest player in the field, fifteen-year-old Victorian Junior Team member Tim Dugdale started brightly with a one-under front nine of 35, but faltered slowly with an inward nine of 40 including a double-bogey 7 at the par-five 18th.
Of the 77-players back in the clubhouse, twenty-two returned scores of par or better. With the southerly wind forecast to strengthen during the afternoon, it is highly likely that Chris Gray will take the lead in the 2nd round to be played on Saturday January 24th.
Source – VGA