The most well-credentialed player in the field, former PGA TOUR winner Nathan Green has set the early pace at the final stage of Qualifying School for the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Being played on the open course at Moonah Links, Green fired 5-under 67 thanks to some good golf on the back-9 after he started his day on the 10th tee.
Making the turn at 5-under, Green got it to 6-under with a birdie at the par-5 2nd before hanging on across the front-9 as conditions turned difficult. A dropped shot at the 8th saw him safely in the clubhouse in 67 shots.
“I played well. I got off to a good start, I think it’s a bit easier on that backside and the wind is a bit better on that back-9. I took advantage of it. I struggled a bit that second nine, coming in, but I was happy with the round,” said Green.
“Once you have to start reading wind into your putting it definitely makes it harder here. You just have to get through about four or five holes that play really tough with that wind, the 8th hole is one of them.
“It was just one of those days, I haven’t had many of them lately, so it was good that I was able to hold it together,” added Green, who believes his extensive career experience held him in good stead today.
“I think having had Tour School experience, I have probably done 10 or so in my life, helped. It’s the mindset that you need to have, it’s a long week and everyone is feeling the pressure. That is probably an advantage.
“But the fact I am not playing a lot of golf at the moment is probably a disadvantage. My good golf is still really good; my bad golf is really poor.
“It’s going to be tough the next few days, especially if we get the weather that is expected, so hopefully I can keep hitting it alright.”
Having played the PGA TOUR for most of his career, Green returned to Australia with his young family to pursue other opportunities.
Now a fully qualified vocational PGA Professional after having completed the PGA Bridging Program, Green is enjoying his career change but admits to still enjoying the competitive side of tournament golf.
“I still love playing but I love being at home and I enjoy my job,” added Green.
“I am working at Toronto where my brother is the head pro. I do about 20 hours in the shop per week and give about four or five lessons. I coach a few of the juniors which I really enjoy.
“I always thought coaching would be tough, and it is. If I give someone a lesson, I sort of ride how they play for the next month. It can be a bit tough when they really aren’t getting what you are trying to teach them. But when they do have some success, I feel really good about it.
“But I just always like having some sort of Tour status, I like having the opportunity to play if it comes around.
“I only played four events this year on the status I had and I really enjoyed them, it’s good to catch up with the guys.
“If I get through again this week, I am not going to play a full schedule, just when I feel like going away and playing hopefully I will have that opportunity.”
Sitting a shot adrift of Green is Fijian professional Sam Lee who fired 4-under 68 which featured five birdies and a bogey.
At 3-under 69 are Ben Stowe, Chang Gi Lee from Korea and New Zealand amateur Mark Hutson while a further shot back is DJ Loypur and amateur Justin Warren.
Rounding out the top-10 on 1-under the card is a group of nine players.
The second round of ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School tees off at 7.30am with Nathan Green on course at 8.50am.
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