Murray region local Dale Crothers has opened the Rich River Trainee Classic with a blistering first round of 6-under 66.

Dale CrothersThe first year Trainee from Yarrawonga Mulwala Resort had a blemish free round featuring four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 5th hole.

“I was obviously really happy with my round today,” said the 22 year old.

“I hit the ball pretty consistently, but the putter was running hot which made the difference today I think.”

The first round got off to flyer for Ballarat Golf Club first year Trainee, Travis Tatt, who came in from the afternoon field at 5-under par, just one shot off the lead.

As the weather heated up so did the scoring with Goulbourn Trainee Luke Humphries, finding himself 4-under through the turn after holing out for an eagle on the par-4, 4th hole.

Fellow Yarrawonga Mulwala Resort Trainee and 2017 Rich River Champion, Frazer Droop, opened his tournament with an impressive 3-under par.

Third year Trainee, Jamie Stapleton also went in the red, shooting 1-under par.

The female competitors in this year’s field are strongly represented with nine Trainees taking part, two of which have started with strong opening rounds of 1-over 73.

Johanna Flaherty, a first year Trainee from Commonwealth Golf Club who won the first Victorian Trainee event in 2019 and Janette Borgolotto from Heidelberg Golf Club put in solid performances to sneak in to the top 20 heading into round two.

Last year’s champion, Brayden Petersen kept the leaders within reach, shooting 2-under 70 to start his title defence.

“It was a good start,” said the Asquith Trainee, “but I definitely left a few out there.”

“I love playing here at Rich River.

“The course is looking even better than last year, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully improving on today.”

The tournament, which sees its 32nd year at the Rich River layout got underway with a jam packed pro-am and the much anticipated Doug Fraser Memorial Longest Drive Competition, which was won this year by NSW Trainee, Matt Grenot, with a winning drive of 318m.

Round two kicks off on Wednesday from 7:15am.