Andy Richards, reigning NSW Amateur Champion – and the winner of the Riversdale Cup is proving he’s no unlikely star again, getting to six-under par and a share of the lead after 11 holes. Sadly a couple of bogies on the 4th and 7th (his 14th and 16th) have seen him drop back to four-under and into a tie for 10th.
- 1.40 pm: Concord Keeps them honest
- 11.40 am: Birdie Battle Begins to Bulge
- 10.40 am: Are records set to tumble?
- 10.00 am: It’s a seven-way tie at the top
- 7.30 am: Day One Live
Chris Wood is the afternoon’s big mover, The Wynnum-based pro has a blemish free round going, and is six under after 12 holes in a share of the lead.
Freshly minted pro, Jack Thompson is also proving he has the talent to mix it on the big stage. The South Aussie wonderkid made a magnificent eagle on the first (his 10th of the day) to get to four under, before rolling in another birdie on the third to get to five and in a share of fourth.
1.40pm: Concord keeps them honest
Despite all predictions Concord might buckle under the combination of soft greens and fairways, this little gem in Sydney’s inner west has kept the morning field honest, although a handful of players could say they had their way.
The clubhouse leaders at six under are Victorian Andrew Martin and Queenslander Andrew Dodt.
Both fired 65s in warm conditions, with light winds and soft greens allowing for some target practise at times, although the greens here – which act as the course’s only protection from the long hitters – are only going to get quicker.
Dodt’s mixed bag included six birdies and two bogeys, and a beautiful eagle on seven, “which kind of got my round going”, he said.
“I started pretty well with a couple of birdies, but then I had a couple of bogeys and then that eagle at 7. On the back, I shot two-under which was pretty solid and I’m happy with that.”
One back are Victorians James Marchesani and Bryden McPherson who fired five-under rounds along with West Australian and former Nationwide Tour winner Michael Sim.
Marchesani was pleased with an early solid score with the greens expected to get quicker throughout the weekend.
“It should get progressively quicker as the week goes on,” said probably going to get a bit quicker as the weekend said the 30-year-old.
“As the course changes it will be a matter of who adapts the best.”
Sim enjoyed a blemish-free round as well, firing five birdies in his 65. “I got off to a good start,” said the 36-year-old.
“I was out of the gates early,” he said, with birdies on 11, 13 and 15 and two more on his back nine. “I had a few more chances actually on the second nine … I had like four wedge shots that didn’t get up and down. It definitely felt like I left a few out there.”
Rounding out a bunch of golfers at -5 included Sydneysider Dale S Williamson who carded a pair of eagles on the front nine (including the 304m par-four fifth), and Queenslander Tim Hart who finished with just a single bogey in an otherwise excellent round.
11.40am: Par at mercy as the birdie tally begins to bulge
42 players are in red figures as the morning half of the draw begins to close out their round here at Concord Golf Club.
Victorian James Marchesani is the player they are chasing, currently riding a blemish free five under par round, with just two holes remaining.
For most of the morning, however, it has been a brace of several names at the top of the leaderboard, including a couple of surprise packets as well as some well-credentialled tour winners both at home and overseas.
Branxton amateur Corey Lamb was in the mix early, starting his round with three straight birdies. A fourth at the seventh got him to the lead, to get to four was sadly followed by his first dropped shot of the day at the 8th.
10.40am: Are records set to tumble here at Concord?
Queenslander Jake Mcleod barely missed a putt through his front nine of the NSW Open here at Concord, as players took advantage of softer conditions this morning.
As expected, Concord’s greens gave more spin and softness than usual – the result of torrential rains throughout NSW and Qld during the week. McLeod, who won the Open in 2018 at Twin Creeks, needed only five putts through six holes (to be fair he putted from the fringe twice), to be four-under on his opening round.
The popular Queenslander birdied his first (the 10th) after hitting it stiff and then sunk bombs on the short par-four 13th and 14th and was unlucky not to birdie the par-five 15th with a three-putt from 50 feet.
Concord may be playing its easiest this morning, but the greens will get quicker under the late summer sun here in Sydney. Whilst the par-71 layout isn’t particularly long, its protection comes in the speed of its greens.
There is a number of players already four-under through their front nines this morning, and with winds forecast to stay calm throughout the afternoon, the new course record (67 Ewan Porter) looks set to tumble.
10.00am: It’s a seven-way tie at the top
It’s a seven-way at the top of the leaderboard early on the opening day of the Golf Challenge NSW Open here at Concord.
Jake McLeod, the 2018 Champion has rolled in birdies on his opening two holes to make his intentions clear early, then after a solid par on the 12th, made it three for the day on 13.
Local hope Josh Armstong, who is a member here at Concord, got off to a shaky start with a bogey on the 11th, (his second), but birdies on 13 and 14, followed by an eagle on 15 have the giant bomber tracking in the right direction.
Branxton’s Corey Lamb, has made three birdies in a row to start his round, while Michael Sim (WA) Aaron Pike (QLD) and James Marchesani (VIC) have all made bright starts.
7.30 am: Day One LIVE
Good morning and welcome to day one of the Golf Challenge NSW Open from beautiful Concord Golf Club in Sydney’s inner west, one of the most prestigious and storied venues in Australian golf.
After days of torrential rain along Australia’s east coast which threatened to disrupt the event, we can confirm opening day will take place under blue skies and calm winds, with the course in brilliant condition and a stellar field ready to take on the short but challenging par 71.
Concord has previously hosted some of Australia’s best known tournaments including the Australian PGA, NSW Open, ANZ Championship and Australian Women’s Open.
Given the recent weather conditions in NSW, the course should play soft for the next couple of days, with the course record of 67 seriously under threat.
Please join our team as we bring you coverage over the next four days in the race for the Kel Nagle Cup, here on the Golf NSW website, or watch our live coverage on the weekend.
- Saturday 2pm to 5pm
- Sunday 12-5pm
- Channels: Kayo, Fox Sports, Sky Sports NZ