Englishman Richard McEvoy hopes to use an early start in his second round to solidify his place near the top of the leaderboard after posting the pick of the afternoon scores in the opening round of the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth tournament.
Perfect conditions greeted the morning groups at Lake Karrinyup Country Club and two players in particular took full advantage.
Starting from the 10th tee, Filipino Miguel Tabuena birdied the first seven holes that he played and was 9-under through 10, James Morrison’s 2014 course record of 63 firmly in his sights.
Bogeys at the fifth and ninth holes ended that charge but his 7-under par round of 65 was matched by only one player, Norwegian rookie Kristoffer Reitan.
Queensland’s Brad Kennedy threatened to join them at the top of the leaderboard as he reached 6-under through 10 holes but like Tabuena struggled on his inward nine, back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine resulting in a 4-under 68.
Two shots back after a 5-under round of 67, McEvoy has failed to qualify for the match play section of the tournament in each of the past two years but knows with a morning tee time on Friday he can consolidate his position before the predicted winds pick up in the afternoon.
“You've just got to keep plugging away, try and get up there on the leaderboard,” said McEvoy, who ended the day tied for third with Kiwi Ben Campbell, six players sitting a further shot back in a tie for fifth.
“Try to get into that top-5, top-10 and then hopefully Saturday that gives you an even better chance of being in the top-24.
“Also, if you're in the top eight you get a bye for the first round of match play, so that's a bonus as well.
“I played the Belgium Knockout last year and made the quarter-finals and I really enjoy playing match play.
“Match play is something that we play all the time in the UK in our amateur days and six holes is a proper shootout so if I can get through it will be good fun.”
For Campbell, who plies his trade predominantly on the Asian Tour, a return to Lake Karrinyup evoked positive memories of his runner-up finish to Matt Jager at the 2010 Australian Amateur.
“I played pretty well around here as an amateur so it's the kind of course that suits my eye,” Campbell said.
“You have to think your way around here a little bit. There are opportunities out there. It's one of those courses where if you're playing well, you're going to shoot a good score. If you're not, it's going to be tough out there.”
Battling illness all week, Belgian headliner Thomas Pieters stumbled with back-to-back double bogeys at the second and third holes – his 11th and 12th of the day – to fall to 2-over but recovered in spectacular fashion.
Consecutive birdies at four and five brought him back to level par and further birdies at seven and nine saw him finish in a logjam of 20 players tied for 16th at 2-under par.
Among those sitting five off the lead are local hopes Jason Scrivener and Min Woo Lee; Matt Jager the best of the Western Australian players at 3-under par.
Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy struggled to a 4-over 76 while Lucas Herbert and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda both have ground to make up after posting rounds of 2-over 74.
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