Ryan Haller is one of two golfers to have shot the lowest score in the 93-year history of the Queensland Open, and is justifiably proud of that achievement.
The 43-year-old, who hails from Ayr in North Queensland, is realistic when he says his four-round 268 at Gainsborough Greens in 2007 might not stack up against some closer Open scores at venues such as The Brisbane Golf Club, Royal Queensland, Hyatt Coolum and Brookwater.
Haller shares the Queensland Open low record with Brad McIntosh, who also had 20-under when he won at Ipswich Golf Club two years earlier. McIntosh shot four rounds in the 60s (64-66-69-69) while Haller’s second round 70 was supplemented with 66-67-65 on the par 72 Gainsborough Greens layout.
He was not aware that he jointly held the Queensland Open record for the lowest score, but says the memory of his three-stroke win is as strong as any from his 17-year professional career.
“I can still recall sinking a 20 footer for eagle on the last, and every now and again look at the video and rekindle the emotion I felt that day,” he said.
“At the time I was probably one of the better-performed players on tour not to have won a big four-round tournament, and being a proud Queenslander it was such a thrill to win my home state Open. It was also a huge relief.”
And Haller says that if The Brisbane Golf Club course is set up as tough as it was last year, no-one will go close to his record during the upcoming 2017 Isuzu Queensland Open.
“Even though Brisbane comes back to a par 71 for the Open with one par five reduced to a par four, it will take four ridiculously good rounds to break 270,” he said.
“I didn’t play well there last year and missed the cut, but the course was brutal. It isn’t a long course but to shoot low at Brisbane it takes tremendous skill and precise shot positioning.
“With the Champion greens slick but true, a near-perfect short game is absolutely imperative.”
Defending champion Brett Coletta, an amateur when he won last year with a seven-under 273 (67-69-67-70), holds the Queensland Open scoring record for events at The Brisbane Golf which will be hosting the tournament for the 20th time when it tees off on Thursday October 26.
But after the 268 record shared by Haller and McIntosh, the next best score in the 92-year history of the Queensland Open is David Graham’s 269 (66-64-69-70) at Coolangatta-Tweed in 1985. Ian Baker-Finch, with 271 (66-67-67-71) at the Hyatt Regency Coolum in 1990, is next.
Coletta, 273 last year, and Alan Murray, who returned 273 (69-66-66-69) at Keperra in 1960, follow Baker Finch in low-scoring feats, with the 277 (71-70-70-66) shot by Stuart Appleby – also as an amateur – in 1991 at Brisbane Golf Club, the fifth best score.
The highest winning score in the Queensland Open was 304 (80-74-77-73) by Frank Eyre at Royal Queensland in 1930, while two years later Charlie Brown became the first player in the Open to break 290 (74-71-72-69) when he shot 286 at RQ.
In 1949 the legendary Norman Von Vida became the first to break through the 280 barrier when he scorched around RQ in 276 (69-73-69-65) to win the fifth of his seven Queensland Opens, and David Graham was the first to beat 270 in his win at Coolangatta-Tweed in 1985.