MELBOURNE, Aus -The leaderboard is jam-packed after the opening round of the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship which is being played at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. It looked as though it might rain as the first groups teed off, but the weather held off and conditions were ideal.
Five players finished the day atop the leaderboard at 5-under-par. Another five players are just one-stroke back at 4-under-par. Among those leading the way at 5-under-par is defending champion Nathan Holman. Holman’s first-round 67(-5) included 5 birdies and an eagle. The 21 year-old Holman is currently ranked 122 in the official WAGR.
Also tied for the lead is Australia’s top-ranked amateur, Brady Watt. The 22 year old Watt is ranked 16 in the official WAGR. New South Wales golfer Jordan Zunic also shares the first-round lead. The 21 year old Zunic is the 10th ranked amateur in Australia and plays out of Bonnie Doon Golf Club. Another player holding a share of the first round lead is 21-year-old Melbourne golfer Geoffrey Drakeford. The local Drakeford carded four birdies and an eagle during his first round 67(-5). Seventeen-year-old Viraat Badwhar is also tied atop the leaderboard. The incoming Stanford freshman from Queensland made seven birdies en-route to his first round 67(-5). Badhwar is ranked 97 in the official WAGR and won the 2012 Toyota Junior World Cup. Among the five players in the group one-behind the lead at 68(-4) is China’s Guan Tianlang. The 14-year-old Tianlang earned an invitation to the 2013 Masters by way of his victory at the Asia-Pacific Amateur. He will become the youngest player to ever compete in the Masters when he tees it up at Augusta National Golf Club in April. Peter Williamson, the highest ranked player in the field struggled today, opening with a four-over-par 76. Williamson of the United States is ranked fourth in the official WAGR. Patrick Rodgers opened with a first round 72(E), and sits 5-strokes behind his future Stanford teammate Viraat Badwhar. Rodgers, is the 13-ranked amateur in the WAGR and a favorite for the United States Walker Cup Team. University of California junior Brandon Hagy opened with a first-round 73(+1). Hagy is the 12th-ranked amateur in the WAGR and like Rodgers was invited to the United States Walker Cup practice last month.