Brady Watt, Will Heffernan, James Grierson and rookie professional Shae Wools-Cobb lead the opening round of the SP PNG Open after firing 5-under 67 in the morning field.
Starting from the 1st tee, a run of two birdies and an eagle from holes 7 to 9 saw Wools-Cobb move up the leaderboard before a fifth birdie on 17 placed the Queenslander into the lead.
“I know I had a really good stretch of three holes which kick-started my round,” said Wools-Cobb.
“It was lots of fun and that birdie, birdie, eagle stretch through 7, 8, 9 was awesome; I played some pretty good golf there.”
In his first season as a Pro on the ISPS HANDA PGA TOUR of Australasia, Wools-Cobb was pleased with his opening round’s score, saying that recent experience in the heat and humidity of Lae proved beneficial when taking to the Royal Port Moresby layout.
“This is my third week in a row that I’ve played in hot conditions so I think I’ve adapted now,” added Wools-Cobb.
“I played in Lae at the Morobe Open last week so I got a bit used to the conditions.”
With a logjam of players sitting just one shot behind, Wools-Cobb believes working on his short-game will improve his results as the tournament moves towards the weekend.
“I’m hitting it pretty well, I just need to hole a few more putts and hopefully I’ll be in amongst it on the weekend.”
Celebrating his birthday in the first round of the PNG Open, Watt was pleased to finish the morning in the lead after setting a goal of 5-under, achieving his score with a birdie on the 18th.
“The birdie on 18 was nice to finish the day,” said Watt. “I had 5-under in my mind and it was nice to roll an 8-footer in on the last.
“I’m just happy to be playing events for a good two weeks in a row. I played well last week so this week is just a continuation of that really. I’m quite acclimated to the humidity now but it was good fun today.”
PGA TOUR China players James Grierson and Will Heffernan went head-to-head in the final group of the morning to join the leaders on 5-under the card.
Kieran Muir, Jacob Boyce, Steven Jeffress, James Anstiss and Adam Burdett sit tied for second place on 4-under the card with the competition tightening up further down the field.
Teeing off in the tournament’s opening group, New Zealand’s Muir continued his strong China Tour form in Papua New Guinea.
“I played up in China a couple of weeks ago and it was warmer up there so I guess I’ve had a bit of practice in the heat,” said Muir of the weather conditions.
“You can’t win the golf tournament in the first round but it’s nice to start well. I feel like the form is pretty good at the moment.
“I’m happy with where my game is at and I’m pretty confident so I’m looking forward to the next couple of days and just enjoying being here and seeing what it has to offer.”
Muir’s round included six birdies and two bogeys in a great display at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club, which he believes is in the best condition he has seen in recent years.
“This is my third year here and I think it’s as good if not better this year as it has been the last couple of years,” continued Muir.
“It’s not too dry at the moment but it’ll be interesting if it gets windy over the next couple of days so I think if the course dries out it’ll play a lot harder, a lot tougher in the scoring.”
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