Rick Kulacz shot a new course record of 8-under 63 to win the Big Garage Subaru Pro-Am by two shots from Aaron Townsend at Bairnsdale Golf Club.
Strong fields in the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series continued with Richard Green, Simon Hawkes, Marianne Skarpnord, Ash Hall and Daniel Fox all playing the one round event.
Former local Michael Light set the early pace with a 4-under 67 in the morning field. His round was a clean sheet with four birdies and no bogeys.
The only female Professional in the field Marianne Skarpnord played flawless golf. Four birdies and no bogeys to shoot a new ladies course record of 4-under 67.
Skarpnord has been a huge success for the Gippsland swing with great local support following her throughout the day where she signed autographs and interacted with the crowd.
“I love this course, it’s just so good,” said Skarpnord.
“If you’d played here before you could really take it on. If you knew the lines you could cut a lot of corners here.”
Aaron Townsend’s round started from the 10th tee and got off to shaky start with a bogey on the 12th. He then birdied the 13th to get back to even. He had two further birdies on 15 and 18 to turn in 2-under.
He then birdied the 1st and then birdied four in a row on 3, 4, 5, 6 to get his round to 7-under and the clear outright lead.
A strong drive down the 9th but an errant approach that finished behind the green took birdie out of the question.
He couldn’t manage to get up and down for par and the bogey saw him finish on 6-under 65 to tie the previous course record set by Maffra’s David Bransdon.
Rick Kulacz’s round began in superb fashion. He eagled his first hole (the par-5 13th) and followed it up with a birdie on the 14th to go 3-under through 2.
He then birdied 17 and 18 to get to 5-under, one clear of Light and in pursuit of Townsend.
A costly bogey on the 1st before three straight birdies on 3, 4 and 5 got him back 7-under, one clear of Townsend.
He birdied the 9th to get to 8-under before finishing with three straight pars to close the round on 8-under 63 and set the new course record.
“I had an eagle and a birdie to opened with so a pretty nice way to start,” said Kulacz.
“I loved it, it reminded me a lot of the Sandbelt. Greens were rock hard which was really nice and it’s different to play on rock hard greens because we don’t normally get them throughout the pro-am series.
“You have to think about it a little more coming into these green, plus the fairways were immaculate.”
Headlines at a glance
Smith left wanting on day three of The Open
It was a ball-striking performance that could have produced anything for Cam Smith on Saturday.
Ryan Fox makes history at The Open
Kiwi Ryan Fox has made headlines in round one of The Open Championship, breaking a record that has stood for the entire 148 years of the tournament&rs...
Brave Smith and Day fly Aussie flag
A pair of gritty opening day performances from Queenslanders Cam Smith and Jason Day have kept Australian hopes of winning The Open alive.