Rookie professional Luke Toomey ensured there would be a Kiwi presence near the top of the leaderboard during the morning rounds on day one of the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
Competing in just his second event as a professional, the Waikato golfer shot a 6-under 66 at The Hills, which at that point had him in a tie for third behind Australians Scott Barr and Deyen Lawson at 7-under.
“It’s a special place as it is, Queenstown, but to be playing the Open here and open up with a number like that is very rewarding,” Toomey said.
“It’s one of the most clinical rounds I’ve ever played, to be honest. Tee to green is basically flawless, and even today there was some missed opportunities. There were some bonus putts here and there, so the round got what it deserved.”
Toomey opened up with a pair of birdies and made the turn at 31, a bogey on the par 4 11th the only blemish on his card, which included seven birdies.
“It’s a very fortuitous feeling coming into tomorrow knowing that there were some shots left out there today. I’m going to take a lot of positives into tomorrow obviously.”
Playing as a professional is certainly not troubling the 23-year-old, who is taking a pragmatic approach to life in the paid ranks.
“It’s the same as every other tournament, I go into it trying to win it and it’s no different this week. I came here with every intention of winning my national title so I’ll do my best to have three more rounds like today,” Toomey said.
“My whole life has been about making that transition and going forward after that. I’ve spent the last couple of years really preparing for this so there’s nothing too different. You couldn’t get the smile off my face this morning at the first tee, but there’s nothing that’s too shocking (about the transition).”
Toomey will play his Friday round at the neighbouring Millbrook Resort where the final two days of the NZ$1 million Tier One event will also be played.
“I do know the (Millbrook) course well. We had our New Zealand camps here a lot so I’ve seen the course plenty of times. Nothing will change I don’t think. As a whole, I think mentally is the most important thing and the rhythm that I had from today I’ll certainly take into tomorrow,” Toomey said.
“It’s nice to have the three in a row here, you can settle into a nice rhythm. But, a golf course is a golf course and you still need to hit good shots. All the guys in this field are world class and I’m sure it won’t be a huge factor.”
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