Date: October 07, 2016
Author: PGA of Australia

Houston has no problems in Fiji

Anthony Houston has shot to the top of the leaderboard and opened the Fiji International with a course record.

Firing a seven-under-par 65, Houston equalled the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course record set by the man who designed the layout, Vijay Singh.

“I didn’t even know it was a course record until I got into the scorers' hut and the lady told me. It was a good feeling,” Houston said.

Houston’s day was made even sweeter by a phone call home to his mum who is celebrating her birthday.

“I told her I would play as well as possible for her, so I didn’t want to drop any shots,” Houston said.

“I got off to a really good start, when it was windy as well; I was five under through seven holes.

“I had a rough patch mid-round, but I held it together and made a few birdies coming home.”

The Victorian, who won the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School this year, sits one shot clear of West Australian Stephen Leaney and Jake Higginbottom thanks to a birdie on his final hole.

“It’s always nice to birdie the last, it was the highlight of my round,” Houston said.

“I had 50m in to the last and it’s my worst shot by far. So to execute that under pressure when you know you’re up there was really satisfying.”

West Australian Leaney fired a bogey-free 66 in the morning.

“I didn’t do anything spectacular. I just did a lot of things well and made a couple of 20-footers and the other four birdies were only six and eight feet,” Leaney said.

Playing in the afternoon field, Higginbottom was happy to match Leaney.

“I played well, very solid, I just hit one bad tee shot on 11 and ended up making a bogey,”  Higginbottom said.

“I finished with three straight birdies; it was a good round, nice and solid.”

On five under and tied fourth are Jason Norris (SA), Damien Jordan (QLD), Matthew Giles (NSW), Aaron Pike (QLD) and Aaron Wilkin (QLD).

Rounding out the top-10 are Ryan Haller (QLD) and Matthew Griffin (VIC) on four under.

Tournament drawcards Brandt Snedeker and Boo Weekley each fired rounds of 69 while local hero Singh finished on 70.