ggling pro Kevin Marques re-produced the form of his top amateur days with a two-under 69 to lead Isuzu Queensland Open pre-qualifying at Virginia on Monday.
French-born Marques, 27, has battled away on the Asian Development Tour and Filipino Tour this year as he earned his rite of passage in the pro ranks.
“It’s been an eye-opener and very different,’’ he said. “But I played about 13 events in Asia earlier this year … it is what you have to do to work your way up through the ranks.’’
Marques, who was a top Queensland amateur until turning pro three years ago, said his 69 at Virginia was the best he had played for “four of five months”.
It has been a big week for Gold Coast-based Marques who also learned his partner, Torie, is expecting the couple’s first child.
Marques said he will go into Thursday’s opening round of the Open at Brisbane Golf Club with limited expectations.
“To be honest, I will probably go out with zero expectations,’’ he said. “I’ll just try to enjoy myself … that is when I play my best.’’
Unlike many players in the field, Marques is very familiar with the Brisbane GC layout.
“I last played there a couple of months ago but I think they’ve changed a few things around,’’ he said. “Shooting the 69 in pre-q will definitely give me a bit of confidence.’’
Marques had a one stroke margin over NSW professionals Ryan Bernard and Troy Cox with local amateur Zac Maxwell also carding a 70.
Maxwell is the son of Virginia club pro Brett Maxwell.
Another to qualify at Virginia was experienced tour player Marcus Cain (72) where the cut off score was 73.
At Keperra, rookie Queensland pros James Gibellini and Simon Viitakangas led the field with rounds of five-under 67.
Both were former leading state amateurs with Viitakangas winning the prestigious Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne.
They finished a stroke in front of West Australian amateur Hadyn Barron with Blake Windred (am NSW) fourth after firing a 69.
Female amateurs Becky Kay (76) and Gennai Goodwin (84) failed in their attempts to become the first women to qualify for the Queensland Open in the event’s 91-year history.
Cut-off qualifying score at Keperra was 74 with 13 players in a dramatic sudden-death playoff for the final spot.
A total of 177 golfers contested the pre-qualifying rounds.
For the list of players who qualified in Pre-Q click here.