Date: October 20, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Coletta leaves Masters miss behind

Brett Coletta could be excused if he went missing in action this week.

But he won’t have a bar of it.

The young Victorian poured in four back-nine birdies among six overall in charging through the Isuzu Queensland Open late in day one to assume the low amateur mantle.

That he did it in the day’s trickiest conditions was one positive, but that he buried the possible demons of finishing runner-up in the recent Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in his first subsequent hit was a greater achievement.

Coletta had led through the first three rounds in Korea with a berth in the 2017 Masters on the line, only to be gobbled up by countryman Curtis Luck in a round he’d love to have over.

But after a few days of soul-searching, the Golf Australia national squad member showed he hadn’t let it affect his good form.

“I’m delighted to start off well after last week with all the mixed emotions and feelings going into it all,” Coletta said after his round of 67.

“I put them aside for this week because you’ve got to come back out and put your best foot forward when you’re at a big event.

“You can’t sit there and sulk about it; obviously it’s one of the best opportunities I’ll ever get to play the pristine Augusta. But you’ve got to move on.”

Coletta, 20, caught fire midway through his back nine and reached four under with a birdie on the 16th before a bogey on the 17th pushed him back into a tie for fourth.

But it was good enough to supplant local hope Lawry Flynn as the low amateur.

Flynn, 18, shot a 66 around this, his home club, two weeks ago in what had been the lowest score on the newly configured Brisbane layout before leader Deyen Lawson’s 65 today.

But it didn’t bother Flynn who was happy to sign for a 68 in tournament conditions, especially after running so well for so long in before a final-round fadeout in last week’s Keperra Bowl.

“I’m just happy to have played so many good rounds in succession,” the left-hander said.

“Other than the final round at Keperra, that means I’ve got five of the past six in the 60s in proper events and that is something that means a lot to me.”

Fellow Queenslander Doug Klein and Perth’s Ben Ferguson were the other amateurs to better par at 69, while the Gold Coast’s Anthony Quayle and Sydney’s Austin Bautista are handy at even-par 70.

There were several players in their first tournament rounds as professionals today, with Eisenhower Trophy hero Cameron Davis the highest profile.

Davis made three birdies against two bogeys in a composed round of 69.

His fellow Sydneysider Troy Moses, also on pro debut, was leader for much of the morning round until a triple-bogey seven on the par-four 5th hole sent him crashing back to a 71.