Wools-Cob profits from morning calm to lead

Shae Wools-Cob fired an eight-under 63 to take a four-shot lead after the first round at the Royal Wellington Club in New Zealand.
Shae Wools-Cob fired an eight-under 63 to take a four-shot lead after the first round at the Royal Wellington Club in New Zealand.PHOTO: ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Australian Shae Wools-Cob took full advantage of benign morning conditions yesterday to fire an eight-under 63 in the first round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) in New Zealand.

He is four shots clear of Sean Maruyama (Japan), Lee Min Woo (Australia), Nick Voke (New Zealand) and Lloyd Jefferson Go (Philippines), all of whom shot 67s.

Wools-Cob's stunning round included seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle three on the 497m, par-five 18th. It would have set a course record at the Royal Wellington Golf Club but for the preferred lies ruling, in place after overnight rain.

The 21-year-old, who started on the 10th hole, took just 29 strokes on his front nine, matching the record Prin Sirisommai set in 2012.

"I felt really comfortable out there, like I was in control of my game - it was a nice feeling," the world No. 57 told Golf Australia.

He was part of a morning session when seven of the day's top 10 scores were recorded amid the calmer weather. The wind began to pick up mid-afternoon.

Abdul Hadi was the only one in Singapore's six-man team with a morning tee-off time. He shot 71, with three birdies and three bogeys, at the par-71, 6,601m Heretaunga Course and was joint-17th.

His team-mates however, endured torrid afternoons.

SEA Games gold medallists Joshua Shou and Joshua Ho shot 77s (tied-76th) while Jesse Yap's 79 (tied-91st) owed much to a disastrous start with three consecutive bogeys followed by a triple bogey on the seventh hole.

Shou, 27, said: "I made too many mistakes today. The wind was always switching around and if you get it wrong, you end up either way short or way over."

Ho said his mental state was "not where it should have been".

"I was a bit jumpy today starting as the first group with nobody ahead of us and both my flight-mates quite quick players. Tomorrow, I have to do a better job of just sticking to my routine and game," added the 23-year-old.

Gregory Foo and Low Wee Jin signed for 74s and were joint-42nd in the 116-player field.

Said Foo: "I got off to a decent start today but the two double bogeys on the fourth and eighth holes were quite costly.

"I'm not playing badly and just have to minimise the big mistakes. There are definitely good scores out there especially if conditions are anything like this morning's."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'Wools-Cob profits from morning calm to lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe