Pre-Q Results: Click here
Toowoomba professional Ian Esson lit up a bleak Wynnum Golf Club with a sizzling seven-under 63 in Monday’s pre-qualifying for the Isuzu Queensland Open.
Esson, 35, who works as an assistant pro at City Golf Club, was in great form to lead qualifiers at the bayside course which was bludgeoned by a morning storm resulting in a two-hour interruption to play.
Ground staff did a sterling job after the deluge, working feverishly to scrape surface water from the course to enable a resumption of play.
Esson had a two shot break over amateur Riley Taylor with a further stroke to Paul Hayden, Nathan Waters and amateur Jay Mackenzie who was the 2016 state boys champion.
At Carbrook, Gold Coast amateur Lindsay Ross shot a four-under par 67 to lead the qualifiers.
Ross, who plays at the Palmer Gold Coast Club, finished a stroke clear of professional Jack Williams and fellow amateur Ryono Suke from the Hills College.
Amateurs Jarrod Stirling, Terry Yoon and Takanari Iwama carded 69s to share fourth spot among the 20 players to earn spots at Carbrook.
Former Open winner Ryan Haller was one of the few players to have a full practice round at The Brisbane Golf Club on Monday and said the course was in outstanding condition despite the rain of the past week.
“It is obviously a lot softer than last year but I love the way it is set up,’’ he said. “This week is going to be a really good test.’’
Haller, who won the Open in 2007, has been fine-tuning his game on the pro-am circuit.
“I’m trying to get my game together for the summer when we have four tournaments in the next six weeks,’’ he said. “I’ve been shooting decent scores in the pro-ams but have been let down by my short game.’’
Haller spent time around the practice green with short game coach Matt Ballard after his round.
Other experienced Queenslanders on the course included Michael Wright and Matt Guyatt.
Wright, who has advanced to the third stage of the Japan PGA qualifying school, missed the cut at last week’s West Australian Open.
“It was disappointing because I’d played well the previous week in Japan,’’ he said. “But I’m looking forward to this week … the course is in great shape.’’
Guyatt, who has undertaken a coaching job at Brisbane’s Golf Central after six years as a tour professional, played his last tournament at the Fiji International where he finished 47th in a strong field.
“In a perfect world I’d still like to be playing competitively, but I have a family to think of and I’m making a transition to coaching,’’ he said.
The Isuzu Queensland Open will be played from 26-29 October 2017 at The Brisbane Golf Club. The Championship is a part of an action-packed Australian summer of golf and forms part of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia. For more information visit www.qldopen.com.au