An incredible eight straight birdies on the back nine at Pennant Hills Golf Club has vaulted NSW representative Chris Fan to the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the 2023 NSW Medal.
In a showtime performance, the 22-year-old from Avondale Golf Club began his birdie rampage on the 10th, and didn’t let up till the last, where he could only get up-and-down for par, to leave the rest of the field in his wake.
Not to be outdone, Newcastle – based junior Jake Riley, who sits at six under, also carved out an impressive seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to leave himself within striking distance of Fan just two back at minus six.
England’s Arron Edwards-Hill and Victorian Nathan Page are another shot back at five under par. They were joined late in the day By Queensland’s Lincoln Morgan, who carved out an impressive 65, including a withering five-under run home on the front nine after beginning his day on the 10th, While the Harrys – Bolton and Petersen – are at four under.
Fan, however, was the man of the moment with his incredible run of red numbers, which he admitted he hadn’t seen coming after a rough couple of weeks at the Aussie Amateur and his home course last week in the World Amateur Golf-Ranked (WAGR) Avondale Amateur.
“It’s a first time,’ Fan said. “I managed to get on a roll early in the back nine and rode it out. It was pretty awesome to go on that run.
“Once I catch wind of some good form, the swing feels good, and the putts feel like they are dropping, then I just go from there.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks. but a good round today has restored some self-belief that I can still do it,” he grinned.
Fan did admit there was a hint of resolve in his performance this week after his efforts in last year’s NSW amateur. Looking like he was the man to beat after opening with a 10-under 61 at The Links Shell Cove, Fan succumbed to eventual runner-up Jye Halls in the quarter-finals.
“Hopefully I can go further in the matchplay this year.” he grinned.
Pymble Golf Club Representative Jake Riley, who is leading the chase to catch a red-hot Fan, was quite happy with his first-round score, which included his golden run of seven birdies in nine holes.
“Good to finally post a good score,” Riley smiled.
“I got pretty hot in the middle. I hit some fairways and had some good numbers into greens, holed a few ten-footers, it was good.”
Riley said he didn’t feel much pressure with his name on the leaderboard, saying his target was to make the matchplay rounds and see how he went from there.
“I’ve been playing well, but struggling to score lately, so its good to post a decent number.
“It’s my goal to get through to the matchplay. I love playing it too, so, yes, that’s the goal to get there.”
Strokeplay: Singh Skips One Clear At Ryde-Parramatta
2022 Women’s NSW Amateur Runner-Up Queensland’s Shyla Singh, fellow Queenslander Haruni Nakatani and New South Wales Golf Club’s Ann Jang share the lead at three under par in the NSW Womens’ Strokeplay Championship.
Singh was impressive around a damp Ryde-Parramatta Layout, recording three birdies and 15 pars in a bogey-free effort.
Nakatani, in contrast, had a bit of a roller coaster ride with an impressive six birdies in her opening round. Sadly, however, bogeys at the first, 4th and 14th hindered her run, while Jang ensured her name was on top of the leaderboard with an impressive eagle on the tough par-five 10th.
Godiva Kim and Concord’s Belinda Ji sit in a tie for 4th at two under, while Jazi Roberts, Last week’s Avondale Amateur Champion Claire Shin, Finland’s Katri Bakker and The Australian’s Annika Rathbone round out the top 10 at one under-par.