New Zealand’s Michael Barltrop is the first round leader of the NSW Men’s Senior Amateur Championship at Bathurst Golf Club.
The semi-retired 60-year-old From Royal Auckland and the Grange Golf Club fired a tidy one – under par 71 in ideal morning conditions to grab a two-shot lead over Lakeland Golf Club’s Michael Minogue. Sitting in a tie for third a further one shot back is Duntryleague’s Robert Payne and Mona Vale’s Trevor Beale.
Barltrop was pleased with his round which included three birdies and two bogeys. He felt the key to his round was a more consistent putter and a tip from a local about the tricky greens.
“I chipped and putted pretty good, the two birdies on the back nine, I chipped in once and sunk a good putt,”
“Someone mentioned to me yesterday about how this course slopes because it sits on the side of a mountain. I finally read some putts correctly and hit them online,”
The Kiwi was disappointed to finish with a late bogey but remained philosophical.
“I hit two average shots,” he smiled.
With two rounds to go, Barltrop believes consistency and patience will be the key to taking out the championship.
“It's a very tricky, very narrow golf course. Everyone is going to find the odd tree out there. You’ve got to be careful and stay calm,” Barltrop smiled.
Local hope, Duntryleagues’ Robert Payne from Orange, took full advantage of the early morning start racing to three under par after nine holes.
A disastrous triple-bogey eight on the 15th hole, however, meant Payne eventually signed for a one-over par 73.
“It was a comedy of errors going up 15,” Payne lamented. ”I hit a tree; it went into the water – straight left. I hit a hazard peg on my next shot, and it went back 60 metres,”
Despite the poor finish, Payne felt his score would be competitive as the afternoon conditions worsened. The seven-time Bathurst Open winner is confident his local knowledge will be a significant advantage as the tournament progresses.
“I don’t think my score will be too far away, If you had asked me before I hit off I would have taken even (par) or one over,”
“I’ve played this course more than anyone else except the locals, the greens can be really tricky, so I think it’s still a real advantage for me.” Payne grinned.