Early birds get the worm at Lake Macquarie
BY Anthony Powter | Australian Mens Amateur Tour | 2006 Lake Macquarie Amateur | Round One | 26 Jan 2006
It was a case of get out early and get in quick for players in the first round of the Greater Building Society Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship. Players in the first half of the draw had the better conditions and it was reflected in the scoreboard at the conclusion of the first day.
Three players share the lead with a 6 under 66 including English Golf Union Elite squad member Jamie Moule, Concord’s Won Joon Lee and Craig Hancock from Wynyard. Sixteen players are within three shots of the leaders including Jason Day (68), local favorite Rudi Bezuidenhout (67) and Mitchell Brown (67).
Moule, who won the 2005 Spirit International and was runner up in the 2005 St Andrews Links Trophy appears to be the in-form player. He was 3rd on the English Golf Union of Merit in 2005 and obviously is accustomed to playing in the wind. However, there are many other fine players who are sure to press the Englishman.
The first day of any tournament is about playing into the field and keeping close to the leaders. These were the sentiments expressed by Mitchell Brown when I caught up with him after his first round.
“I played well and had a couple of eagles today which was good. I had a change to get my round going but missed a couple of puts in the middle, but apart from that my game was solid. It’s the first tournament of the year so you aim to have a solid start and not do anything stupid.”
“Conditions early were great but the wind picked up this afternoon and it is blowing hard now. All the guys who scored well played early so it does not matter if it blows tomorrow. You have to make sure you don’t loose it if the wind gets up.”
Brown comes off an excellent summer where he gained starts in a number of the main professional tournaments including the MFS Australian Open. Sitting only one off the lead and having played the event for a number of years, he is sure to be a dominant force in the tournament.
Andrew Dodt will be looking to better his even par 72 to ensure he remains for the weekend. Likewise Golf Australia Elite squad member Rick Kulacz will be keen to improve on his opening 73 and will need to if he is to survive the cut which is predicted to be around 2 over.
Another strong north easter with some showers are forecast for the afternoon which will turn the Belmont layout into a stern test of golf. Many players commented the course is in the best shape it has been for years and capable of low scores but the weather may well have the final say.
Whilst it is early days you can sense the cream has already started to rise to the top with familiar names like Jason Day, Tristan Lambert, 2004 NSW Medal winner Richard Gallichan, and stalwart Lester Peterson, all hovering three off the pace.
With the draw swapping and those who were able to score low this morning playing tomorrow afternoon, their challenge will be to keep it going when they tee up.
One thing is for certain that like any links style layout, the early brids tend to get the worm.
Photo – Anthony Powter