Not even the Fremantle doctor could stop Peter Uihlein on day one of the ISPS Handa Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
The American copped the brunt of the afternoon breeze, but he entertained the galleries that had flocked to see Frenchman Victor Dubuisson. While Dubuisson dissappointed with a 77, Uihlein went 7-under par to lead by a shot over Romain Wattel of France and Shiv Kapur of India.
Aussie Rhein Gibson also impressed in the afternoon, coming in at 5-under par to be the best placed Australian in outright fourth.
Amazingly, Uihlein opened with a bogey on the relatively easy 294m par-4 first hole.
“I missed the fairway with an iron which is always awkward,” joked Uihlein of his opening tee shot.
“I was staring a six or seven in the face but I walked away with a five, so it felt like a birdie in my mind. Then I made a nice par on the next hole with a 25 footer and after that I feel like I calmed down a little bit.”
Six birdies and an eagle followed after Uihlein's rocky start, and the American made the most of his opportunities when the wind was blowing in his favour.
“After that start I kinda got going,” said Uihlein.
“I feel like we had it downwind for most of the back nine so that was nice. I don’t know if it was windy this morning, but it was really windy this afternoon so it was tough.”
The highlight came on the par-4 ninth from a hole-out eagle on his uphill approach.
“I hit a good drive to 60 yards or so, which was a good number,” said Uihlein.
"I gave it a nice little flick, one hop and skipped up there and I heard it hit the flag and people got up and started applauding. It’s always kind of cool to see the reaction from the fans in those moments.”
Playing in the group ahead of Uihlein, Victorian Todd Sinnott came in with a 4-under 68 and the young-gun Aussie heaped prainse on the leader.
“That’s just ridiculous,” said Sinnott with a smile while shaking his head.
“I kept hearing cheers out there…that’s just a phenomenal round.”
With Gibson the leading Aussie on 5-under, Sinnott is alongside Aussies Brett Rumford, Scott Arnold, Anthony Houston and Nick Cullen on 4-under par.
“”I’m definitely happy with the round,” said Sinnott.
“The wind really got up. I was just trying to hang in there and pick up shots where I could.
“I like playing in the wind as I can hit a lot of different shapes and shots of different heights. It’s always windy in Melbourne so it’s nothing I’m not used to.”
Sitting alongside Sinnott. West Aussie Brett Rumford enjoyed the support from a legion of fans that turned up early on Thursday.
“There were plenty of fans here. It’s nice to play well and feed off their energy,” said Rumford.
“Hopefully I keep that energy high, keep rolling putts in and perform well.”