Date: August 02, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

Sondjaja strikes at Western Amateur

Ruben Sondjaja has posted an impressive five-under-par 66 to be in a five-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the Western Amateur.

Sondjaja got off to a flyer with birdies on his opening two holes then added another couple on the 6th and 7th for a four-under 31 on the front nine. The 22-year old made another at the 17th before parring the last for a bogey-free round on the testing Skokie Country Club course in Glencoe, Illinois.

The Iowa State University student was thrilled with his day’s work around the challenging layout.

“I played solidly out there. I made some great up-and-downs early in the round to keep the momentum going and just gave myself good looks throughout the day,” he said.

“The golf course is quite challenging, but it is such a fair test. The conditions of the course are immaculate, and it's a course that you can't sleep on.

“I’d like to keep doing what I've been doing over the next week. I've been playing solidly for the last two months, and I just want to give myself more chances."

Melbourne's Karl Vilips, the youngest player in the field, is in a logjam for sixth place and tied with eight others after shooting a four-under 67, while the Vintage’s Dylan Perry is a shot further back in 15th place.

Perry. runner up at The Amateur Championship at Royal St George's in June, was happy with his round today and said the course required patience.

“I played solid today. My ball striking was good, and I rolled some putts in,” the NSW state team player said.

"You’ve got to manage yourself around this course as it can bite you real quick, and today I think I did a pretty good job of that.”

Of the other Australians in the field, Western Australia’s Min Woo Lee posted a two-under-par 69 to sit in 21st, while St. Michael’s Golf Club’s Travis Smyth carded a one-under 70 to finish the day in 34th.

Avondale’s Harrison Endycott was left rueing a triple bogey seven on the last hole of the day, and now has some work to do after posting a three-over par 74. He sits in 98th place alongside Queensland’s Charlie Dann.

Australian Amateur champion Matthias Sanchez is in 108th place, while Canberra’s Joshua Armstrong, Victorian David Micheluzzi and Newcastle’s Blake Windred are in 113th position and finding the going tough after matching five-over-par 76s.

Queensland’s Shae Wools-Cobb and Australian Junior champion Cameron John, of Victoria, had days they would rather forget, carding 79 and 81 respectively.