by Rod Morri
The tone was set early at the AVJennings NSW Open and if the players coming off the course after the morning round are any guide expect low scoring to again be the order of the week at the Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club.
Western Australia’s Jarryd Felton set the clubhouse mark among the morning field with a 6-under 66 to be one ahead of Aaron Pike, Jordan Mullaney, Blake Proverbs, Ash Hall and Jake Higginbottom.
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But the leaderboard was a sea of red figures as the afternoon players teed off with the morning leaders all declaring the course was there for the taking.
“I kind of walked off thinking I left a fair few out there,” said recent Victorian PGA Champion Aaron Pike who signed for a bogey-free 67.
“Bogey-free with five birdies but I had a lot of looks at more to be honest. I think it’s just that kind of course where you get that feeling because the greens are so good.
“There might be days where you light it up and have nine or 10 birdies, but there’s also going to be days like today where I’ve had five but felt like I could have had four or five more.
“But I’m not going to complain about 5-under!”
Early leader Jarryd Felton agreed with Pike’s assessment after notching seven birdies against a lone dropped shot for the day.
“There’ll be low scores again this year,” he said. “I said at the start of the week that anything more than 20-under would probably get you the win and that hasn’t changed.”
He said the nature of the course set up well for the professionals particularly with rain early in the week softening the greens for this year’s championship
“It’s very open so you can take it on,” he said of the Graham Marsh designed layout. “And it’s playing soft this year, and the greens are holding.
“You can go at the flags because they’re not as firm as they were last year.”
Former New Zealand Open winner Jake Higginbottom returned a clean card and, like his peers, pointed to the quality of the putting surfaces as the key to the plethora of red numbers.
“The greens are rolling beautifully, so it’s a good chance to hole a lot of putts if you read them correctly,” he said.
“If you drive it well it’s pretty wide, and you have a lot of wedges in your hands. With the greens being softer this year if it doesn’t get too windy, the scores will be similar or better.”
Queensland’s Jed Morgan and Victorian Blake Collyer were the best of the amateurs in the morning field, both returning 4-under scores of 68 to be T7 as the afternoon wave headed out.