Sensational Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya, European Tour veteran Wade Ormsby and 2015 champion Matt Jones are the early leaders in the Emirates Australian Open in beautiful scoring conditions at The Australian.
The first round began in blazing sunshine and the smoke haze that has been sitting over Sydney in recent days had disappeared, leaving superb playing conditions for the 144-man field.
Adelaide’s Ormsby, 39, rammed home four birdies in his first six holes starting on the back nine to set the pace.
He was quickly matched by Kanaya, the world’s No. 1 amateur and one of a cluster of brilliant, young players emerging from Japan in recent times. Kanaya also started on the back nine and rolled in four consecutive birdies at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th.
When Ormsby made a bogey after finding the fairway trap at the par-four 17th, Kanaya led outright, but the Australian quickly picked up a shot at the par-five 18th with a nice chip in close from near the front of the green.
Jones, a longtime member at The Australian, relished his home conditions and when he eagled the par-five 18th, his ninth hole of the day, he was also at four-under and in a share of the lead.
Queensland amateur Jack Trent was another to show up early, reaching three-under through seven holes.
Two of the favorites, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, were one-under par through eight holes with 2010 champion Adam Scott and Spain’s Sergio Garcia to hit off at 11.50am.