Harrison Endycott and Antonio Murdaca are the best-placed of the Australian group after the first round of strokeplay at the British Amateur Championships at Panmure and Carnoustie golf clubs in Scotland.
But they are chasing Alfy Plant of England, who roared around Panmure in a course record 63 in perfect, breathless conditions, twice holing out for eagles on par-fours.
The 22-year-old Plant, an English national team member who won the St Andrews Links Trophy last year, leads by two from Scotland’s Grant Forrest and New Zealander Ryan Chisnall, who both posted five-under-par 67’s at Carnoustie.
He holed out at the 405-yard third hole with a seven iron, then astonishingly repeated the feat at the 10th with a seven iron. "To see them drop was a good feeling,'' he said. "One went in and it was nice but to see the second one go in was a bit bizarre but I will take it. I’m really pleased. It’s my first course record and my personal best round as well so it’s been a really good day.''
Endycott, from New South Wales, carded a steady three-under-par 67 at Panmure to be four shots back. “I played very controlled, one shot at a time golf,'' he said later. "It’s all about leaving the ball in the correct spots and I just tried to make sure I did that”.
South Australia's Murdaca had 68 (-2) also at Panmure and seemed to be in control all day. He only hit one driver using his low, stinging two-iron off most tees with the courses so firm that a long iron shot can run out farther than 250 metres. "I was pretty confident because I played Panmure last year at the Scottish Stroke Play and I like the course,'' said Murdaca. "I tried to hit as many fairways as I could by using irons off the tee and keeping the ball in play. I’ll be looking to do the same at Carnoustie tomorrow.''
Taylor MacDonald (72), Cameron Davis (72) and Ryan Ruffels (73) are in the mix with solid first rounds at Carnoustie but Lucas Herbert (75) has a big task ahead in the second round. "Cameron has a morning draw tomorrow and might be in the best shape with the wind predicted to get up in the afternoon when Taylor and Ryan are on course,'' said Golf Australia's high performance manager Matt Cutler.
A field of 288 players, representing 30 different countries, will play two qualifying rounds of stroke play at both Carnoustie and Panmure before the leading 64 and ties take part in the match play stages at Carnoustie. The 36-hole final will be played on Saturday.