Australia’s top amateur golfers are defying testing courses and weather to light up the national championship in Sydney this morning.
West Australian Jarryd Felton, Victorian Brett Coletta and Queenslander Mitchell lead the men’s field at three under par midway through their opening rounds of the strokeplay section.
All three are playing at The Lakes, while the best progress score at nearby The Australian is Victorian Jack Besley at -2.
The women are only playing at The Lakes this morning and The Australian this afternoon, with Sydneysider Shelly Shin already faring well.
Shin, who led the national women’s team to victory at the Astor Trophy last week in Adelaide, was -2 through nine holes, with a host of other players two shots back including her national teammate Hannah Green.
More than 25mm of rain fell overnight in Sydney’s southern suburbs, and while the first groups out battled only light drizzle, a gusting north-easterly breeze isn’t helping scoring even though rain has eased.
Across both courses there are 234 men, none of whom has a handicap higher than 0.8 – a figure down from 1.4 last year.
In the 78-strong women’s field, a quantum leap in qualification standards means a maximum mark of 1.8, down from 4.4 last year.
Each player will play 18 holes at each course over two days and the top 64 men and 32 women will advance to the matchplay phase beginning on Thursday at The Australian.
LIVE SCORES: http://www.golf.org.au/australian-amateur