Jordan Zunic overcame gusting winds and blistering heat to join Jarryd Felton atop the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship on Thursday.
Zunic teed off in 38-degree heat at Kalgoorlie Golf Course but it did little to deter the New South Welshman who recorded a bogey-free 65 in the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament.
“I’m very hot right now, it’s super hot out there so I’m glad to be all done for the day but I felt really good out there,” Zunic said.
“I hit the ball quite well and I putted really well too.
“You can always make birdies when you’re holing the putts so it was nice to roll a few in today and start the week off well.”
Winds caused the red dust of the outback to swirl and make shots challenging for the afternoon field.
“The wind was a little tricky. I found that it blows and feels strong but I find that it doesn’t seem to affect the ball that much,” he said.
“It’s really hot here so the air might be a bit thinner compared to when we play on the coast with the breeze that really seems to get your ball.
“I found it quite tricky and we did get stumped by the wind on a few holes so it was a little tricky and required a little bit more concentration.”
A birdie on the 18th was the icing on the cake for the 2018 Isuzu Queensland Open champion who will look to take advantage of cooler conditions when he takes to the 10th tee on morning two.
Western Australia’s Jarryd Felton credited his ball-striking for his 65.
An eagle on his final hole was the highlight of the round for the Perth ace whose affinity with the Goldfields layout has paid dividends.
“I can’t be disappointed with a 65 but I left a lot of shots out there as well,” Felton said.
“My ball-striking was really good today. I missed two greens and paid the price as you do around here, but I had a lot of looks inside 10-feet and didn’t capitalise on as many as I wanted. But we got there in the end.
“I love it out here. I seem to play well here. I love this golf course and it definitely rewards good ball striking which is one of my strengths.”
Felton sits alongside elite company at the top of the leaderboard where he is just one shot ahead of fellow West Australian and 2015 WA PGA Championship winner Brett Rumford.
“It feels pretty good,” Felton said of the results. “We wore the same outfit today as well so there’s something in that I think.”
Rumford, who’s made a remarkable recovery since undergoing wrist surgery last November, sits in third place alongside Matt Jager after firing an impressive round of 66.
“It was there for the taking really. There was no wind. It got up maybe just a little bit on the back nine, but it was still playable,” Rumford said.
“The greens were receptive and at a moderate pace so if you wedged it well and drove it half decent I think there was a score to be had and I just took advantage of that.”
Former west Aussie Matt Jager endured a rollercoaster opening round at the WA PGA Championship where three bogeys and nine birdies took him to his own wild 66.
Rumford was joined on the tee by David Micheluzzi who made his professional debut with an impressive bogey-free 67.