Reigning ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth champion Brett Rumford got his title defence off to the perfect start at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
The West Australian was off to a flyer with seven birdies on his front nine, he stumbled with bogeys on the first and third holes (his 10th and 12th) before getting back on track with three more birdies coming home to finish eight-under 64 and hold a two-shot lead.
“I’m leading, I’m inside the top-24 and that’s my only focus this week is to finish inside that number whether I lead the qualifying again,’’ said Rumford. “That would be a nice bonus but it’s not my priority this week and I’m playing accordingly.
“I think some golf courses just fit your eye and others don’t. It’s not always the case, but generally you find as a trend that a lot of players go back and play well when they’ve had a lot of good performances there, and this (Lake Karrinyup Country Club) is one of them.
“The fairways are nice and generous; it’s just a flowing golf course. A lot of the holes are framed to the eye, it tells you which shot to hit, and I just love that kind of golf. The greens are great and I’ve played here a lot. So I don’t know what it is, but definitely seems to be some kind of home course advantage.”
Rumford played in the same group as Lee Westwood, who finished on six-under 66 to hold second position early, the pair enjoyed a ding-dong battle throughout their round before Rumford pulled away to lead by two.
Westwood said he was happy with his strong start to the tournament, albeit with some putts not dropping, and hopes to cement his place inside the top-24 as Sunday approaches.
“Six-under is a nice start to the week, I think it’s the kind of format where you don’t really want to be chasing. If you can get out to a fast start, I think everybody’s just trying to make the top-24 for the final day,” said Westwood.
Playing in the afternoon, Novocastrian James Nitties made a late charge for the lead reaching seven-under par before finishing s-under 66 for his share of second place alongside Westwood.
Sitting one shot behind Westwood and Nitties is a group of nine players including; Jason Scrivener (AUS), Sebastien Gros (FRA), Prom Meesawat (THA), Daisuke Kataoka (KOR), Nicholas Fung (THA), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Yi-keun Chang (KOR) and Gareth Paddison (NZL).