Blake Windred leads the way for the NSW Blues contingent with a seven-under-par 65 on the opening day of the Players Amateur at Berkely Hall in South Carolina.
The Novocastrian, who is making a habit of fast starts of late, sits in second place, four shots behind tearaway leader Stuart Hagestad who rocketed around the South Course at Berkely Hall in just 61 to set a new course record.
"I had to stay patient early after giving a couple of early bogeys," Windred said. But I caught fire on the back nine!"
And catch fire he did, after the back to back bogeys on five and six, Windred reeled off seven birdies in the final ten holes to vault into second place. He knows there is more work to do though, and Hagestad will be a tough nut to crack.
"I'm playing some pretty solid golf at the moment.
"Hagestad is a great player. He's played in lots of Majors, and apparently never turning pro," WIndred added.
On a day perfect for scoring, 52 players shot better than par, including Golf NSW High-Performance Squad members Nathan Barbieri and Jordie Garner, who carded two under 70, while Josh Armstrong signed for a 71.
Barbieri wasn't thrilled with his two-under effort. Four under early, the Monash Country Club representative fell away towards the end of his round.
"It wasn't a swing thing, just a bit mental.
"I'll be better tomorrow," Barbieri said.
The Central Coast's Jordie Garner, who is experiencing his first taste of the Players, was thrilled with his opening round, describing it as his best effort of the northern summer.
"Very happy," Garner said. "Best round of my trip so far.
"I missed a few chances, but I'm feeling good.
"I am learning to back myself. These guys aren't much better than I am, and I realise how good of a player I am mentally and physically compared to them."
Josh Armstrong described his 71 as a bit of a grind but is happy to be in red numbers.
"I was one over most of the day until the 17th. Pretty happy with the way I hung in there," he added.
This year's field includes some of the best names in Amateur golf, and the tournament honour roll reads like a who's who of pro golf with many former champions including Kevin Tway, Brian Harmon, Bud Cauley, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler now playing on the PGA Tour.
Australians have had success at this event with Aron Price (2004) and Daniel Nisbet (2015) on the honour roll of past champions.
The winner of the event secures a start in the 2020 RBC Heritage Classic on the PGA Tour.
ROUND 1 Scores:
Stuart Hagestad – 61 (LEADER)
Blake Windred (NSW)- 65
Jack Thompson ( SA) – 67
Aiden DIdone (Vic) – 68
Blake Collyer (Vic) – 69
Chris Crabtree (QLD) – 69
Jordie Garner (NSW) -70
Jed Morgan ( QLD) – 70
Nathan Barbieri (NSW) – 70
Kyle Michel (VIC) – 70
Josh Armstrong (NSW) – 71
Andre Lautee ( VIC) – 73