WA’s Ben Ferguson has made the most of the ideal morning conditions at Belmont Golf Club to lead the Lake Macquarie Amateur after the opening round.
Ferguson fired seven birdies and an eagle on his way to a 7-under par round of 65, leading by a shot over NSW’s Daniel Kolar with James Grierson of NSW and Cameron John of Victoria tied for third on 5-under.
The women’s event is being dominated by a strong international contingent; with last week’s Australian Amateur champion Min-Ji Park leading the way on 5-under.
Robyn Choi of Queensland is the closest Australian, sitting fourth on 3-under while WA’s Hannah Green is the only other Australian in the top 10 on 1-under and tied for 8th.
Men’s leader Ferguson admitted he wasn’t anticipating a good day when he was out on the range, but said everything fell into place as he got out on course.
“I’m fiddling around with my grip at the moment, so I’m just trying to get comfortable before I hit the shot,”
“I just got off to a hot start and I played well from there. I took all the opportunities I could get.”
“The conditions were perfect. There wasn’t much wind out there so I knew I had to take advantage and pretty much everyone [who played this morning] has come in with an under par score. “
Ferguson was left to rue one missed opportunity early on his back nine, but some magic on the par-5 16th made up for it.
“I missed an eagle chance on the 10th from about 2 and a half feet, but I kept bouncing back pretty well,” said Ferguson.
“The eagle 16 was actually a chip in from the beach! It was a tough shot, so I was obviously really happy to get out of there with an eagle.”
While the sun shone of Ferguson today, he’s not expecting a similar welcome tomorrow with storms forecast for his late afternoon tee off time.
“We’re expecting tougher conditions so I knew I had to take advantage [this morning],” said Ferguson.
“I heard rumours that there’s going to be 10mm of rain, so I think the afternoon will be a lot tougher.
“The course is already really soft and saturated from all the rain they’ve had the last week or two. If you have a wedge shot it’ll rip back about 10 meters so you have to be really careful.”
With 18 players shooting in the sixties today, Ferguson knows he needs to build on his 7-under mark to stay ahead of the pack.
“The course is still playing pretty easy. I think anywhere from 15 to 20 under will be the leading number, so I need to push on from today.”