Rookie pro Deyen “Digger” Lawson produced one of the shots of the day during his opening 65 to lead the Isuzu Queensland Open at The Brisbane Golf Club.
The dry-humoured Victorian notched five birdies and an eagle on the par-5, 16th hole, after he rifled a 3-wood from 262m to within a metre of the hole.
“That was definitely my best shot of the round,” he said. “I just tried to keep the ball in play and not make too many silly mistakes.”
Lawson, who completed his traineeship at Curlewis Golf Club in Victoria last year, has been a prolific pro-am winner and finished tied seventh in this year’s New Zealand Open.
During his traineeship he was called on to virtually run the club for a couple of months after the manager and head professional resigned.
“I had to put golf on hold for a while but it was good experience,’’ he said. “Now I’ve more time to concentrate on my golf.’’
Lawson divides his time between Curlewis, on the Bellarine Peninsula about 20km from Geelong, and the Gold Coast where his girlfriend Ali Orchard lives.
Orchard is also a golf professional who could not caddie for Lawson yesterday as she practised for forthcoming tournaments in China.
Lawson has a one stroke lead over Ben Clementson (NSW) and Gold Coast-based Victorian Steve Jones.
Peter Lonard also provided fireworks with eagles on the par-5, 12th hole, and the short par-4, 15th hole, which carries a $500,000 hole-in-one prize on the weekend.
Lonard, who was four-over the card after 10 holes, hit an iron of the tee on the 306m, 15th, and then holed-out with his wedge approach.
He finished with an even-par 70.
Jones started with successive birdies and played steadily to be tied with Lawson at 5-under with three holes to play. But he dropped a shot on the par-3, 7th (his 16th) when the wind grabbed his tee shot and he narrowly missed the green.
“I feel very comfortable here and like the layout,’’ said Jones.
“It feels a lot like a Melbourne course. You need to be very conscious of where you hit your second shot.
“I had the speed of the greens down pat and read the lines well.
“On the difficult holes you just have to manage your game and get through.’’
Two strokes off the pace on 67 are Gavin Fairfax (Qld), Alex Edge (NSW) and Victorian amateur Brett Coletta who had four birdies in five holes on his homeward nine.
Local amateur Lawry Flynn, an 18-year old left-hander who shot 66 to win the Yeerongpilly Cup on this course recently, is one of nine players on 68.
Cam Davis, the former outstanding amateur who is making his debut as a professional this week, was satisfied with his opening 69.
“I found it really hard to hole putts but it was a relatively stress-free day,’’ he said.
“The way the wind was blowing you needed to be disciplined from the tee. You needed to keep the ball down and hit smooth shots … I wasn’t unhappy with the day.’’
Round 1 Tournament photos are on the Isuzu Queensland Facebook page.