Low scores were the order of the day at 13th Beach Golf Links but no one went lower than Nick Flanagan.
The New South Welshman has begun his 2019 season in spectacular form, completing his opening round at the ISPS HANDA Vic Open at 10-under 62 after playing the creek course.
While thick fog delayed the start of the tournament for an hour and 10 minutes, it did nothing to delay Flanagan’s game.
Starting on the 10th tee he reeled off two eagles, eight birdies and two bogeys to sit two shots clear of the chasing pack heading into the second round.
“A couple of putts early kind of dropped and then I just wasn't trying too hard essentially,” said Flanagan.
“I just had one of those days where everything seemed to kind of go right.
“If I hit a bad shot, it would just miss a bunker and end up in a nice lie, knocked it up close and kind of just kept momentum going.”
A host of injuries forced the former U.S. Amateur Champion out of the game but Flanagan secured status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia via Qualifying School for 2018 and finished 20th on the Order of Merit.
In 2019, he can now focus on building a schedule.
“I've been playing well for the last two years, I just haven't been playing enough golf,” continued Flanagan.
“I’m just trying to lower the expectations again and kind of get back to where I was, obviously today it worked.
“It's not going to work every day this year, but if it keeps working this week, it would be great, If it doesn't, just keep building on that for the next couple weeks,” said Flanagan, who will go on to play the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth next week.
Rooming with Flanagan for the tournament is James Nitties who began his Vic Open campaign in spectacular fashion from the 10th tee of the beach course.
Sitting tied for second place at 8-under 64, it was Nitties’ run of nine consecutive birdies from holes 15 – 5 that saw him equal the World Record for most consecutive birdies in a tournament round.
First set by Mark Calcavecchia, the record has been equalled once before by Rayhan Thomas of Dubai.
“I don't hold any other world records that I know of, so to be a part of one is pretty cool,” said Nitties.
“I had a good chance for that 10th birdie, but I didn't want to break it.
“It's such a longstanding record, I wouldn't do that to Mark, so it's good to hold it with him,” said Nitties with a cheeky smile.
Congratulating his roommate on his first round, Nitties credited Flanagan’s choice of dinner meal the night before for their combined 18-under score in the first round.
“I was saying before that he cooked us delicious burritos last night, so maybe they'll be on the menu again tonight.”
Joining Nitties at tied second on the leaderboard are James Anstiss (NZL), Hugo Leon (CHL), Kurt Kitayama (USA), Callum Shinkwin (ENG) and Jason Scrivener who was the only player to record 8-under whilst playing in the afternoon field.
Rounding out the top-10 is a group of seven players at 7-under the card.
The second round of the ISPS HANDA Vic Open tees off at 7am with Nick Flanagan teeing off on the beach course at 1.40pm.
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