Kevin Yuan believes the 7th hole at Stonecutters Ridge “has it in for me”.
In both rounds of the NSW Open, Yuan has found himself unsure about his approach to what he described as “a fairly simple hole”.
The seventh is driveable from the back plates (hello, Jason Scrivener), but for Yuan it’s just a two iron then a punch nine-iron into a two-tiered green. Both days it has given him grief. On Thursday he double-bogeyed, and then today “I just got the winds wrong and ended up in the bunker and I couldn’t get up and down”.
Apart from this sole bogey on seven, it was almost a trouble-free round for the Australian Golf Club member who remains in contention to finish leading amateur in the NSW Open.
His opening round of 70 was followed up by a six-under 66 today, guaranteeing him a place in the weekend field, and with a genuine chance of not only finishing leading amateur, but actually winning the event.
“The plan was to just make the cut first, and then see what happens,” said the 19-year-old.
“I will need a bit of luck, but I’ll go for it.”
Standing between Yuan and the title of leading amateur is Queensland Open champion Brett Coletta, who stunned the field with an opening round of -10 to be the overnight leader.
The cut for the 2016 NSW Open was made at -5, and although that reflects the quality of golf played so far, even more exciting is the number of amateurs who will play this weekend.
Even more importantly a number of them have a chance to shake up the leaderboard. Coletta (-10), Yuan (-8), Joshua Gadd (-8), Luke Toomey (-8), Austin Bautista (-7), Connor Syme (-7), Blake Windred (-7), Lucas Higgins (-7), Travis Smyth (-6), Thomas Holz (-5), Ben Dunn (-5) and Ryan Chisnall (-5) all made the weekend.
When Ben Eccles lifted the Kel Nagle trophy last year, it was only the fourth time since 1972 that an amateur his won this prestigious event.
With the quality of amateur golfers still in this field and the current form of Brett Coletta, there’s no reason why they can’t go back to back.
FORMER AMATEUR CHAMPIONS AT THE NSW OPEN
2015: Ben Eccles
2006: Rich Kulacz
1975: Tony Gresham
1972: Owen Beldham
1938: Jim Ferrier
1937: Jim Ferrier
1936: Jim Ferrier
1935: Jim Ferrier
1933: Jim Ferrier