NSW Medal: Cascio, Harvey the two to catch

David Tease
January 30, 2024

A couple of tips on focus and shotmaking from his cousin, Tony O’Rourke, have helped Ethan Harvey to a share of the lead of the NSW Medal at Belmont and Pacific Dunes Golf Clubs today.

Harvey, who plays at the Lakes Golf Club, carded an impressive six-under-par effort around Belmont in the balmy afternoon conditions to set the low mark of the day alongside Bonnie Doon’s Sam Cascio.

The 20-year-old, who also carved out an impressive 11-under-par 61 to qualify for the NSW Open at Rich River in March last year, was ecstatic with his opening-round performance.

“I’m very happy with how I played out there.Today was a good day. It was a gentle breeze, and felt just like playing down at home in Wollongong.”

“I’ve been working with my cousin Tony (who caddies for last week’s Webex PLayers Series All-Abilities tournament winner Cameron Pollard) on being like The Terminator over shots: totally zoning in, executing the shot, then zone out, being happy, and talking to everyone,” He explained.

Cascio Sam 1920 NSW AM IMG 1207 1 copy

Co-leader Sam Cascio said the familiar feel of the Belmont layout to his hometown club, Wollongong, had also contributed to his impressive opening-round score.

“My game hasn’t been that good recently, but I like this course. It’s similar to Wollongong; you know how to hit shots in the wind, so you know how to hit shots around here.”

Cascio also admitted he was intent on going one better than last year at Ryde Parramatta and Pennant Hills, where he missed the matchplay rounds in a ten-way playoff.

“I was disappointed to not get into the matchplay. It was a ten-way playoff last year, and I didn’t get in, so my goal is to go one better this year.”

Six shots separate over 20 players in the NSW Men’s Medal after the opening round of play at Belmont and Pacific Dunes Golf Clubs.

Concord’s Blake Phillips and Josh Boaz of Moore Park are one back of the co-leaders at five under.

Queenslander Goerge Giblett grabbed a late birdie to finish at four under, with his maroon counterpart Max Ford at minus three. Six Golfers are tied at two under, with seven more at minus one on a very congested leaderboard.

The expected summer sea breezes didn’t impact the scoring, with most of the day’s best results coming on the more open Belmont layout during the afternoon half of the draw, where tellingly, all but five of the lowest 15 rounds were shot.

Avondale amateur Champion Declan O’Donovan, Jye Halls from NSW GC, Joshua Liston and Lachie Jones were the best of those who played the testing Pacific Dunes layout, all finishing at two under.

1920 20240130 NSW Am Rd1 Pac Dunes 0205

Halls from Mollymook on the NSW South Coast was quietly pleased with his effort on the tricky Pacific Dunes greens in the calmer morning conditions at Pacific Dunes after enduring a poor run of form with his usually trusty putter.

“I got off to a good start and really played steady for much of the day,” Halls said. ” Four birdies, two bogeys. It’s been a bit of a battle with the putter for the last few weeks, so it’s good to see a few drop in.”

Playing alongside Halls, Avondale Amateur Champion O’Donovan endured a wild ride to finish his round, swapping birdies with bogeys over the closing holes.

“It was a huge roller-coaster ride, that’s for sure,” a relieved Donovan said.” I hit it in the water on 15, over the back on 17, then got it back with a good birdie putt on the last.”

For those hoping to progress to Thursday matchplay contests, the all-important top 32 cutoff is hovering around the even-par mark.

Related LINKS: Leaderboard – 2024 NSW Medal

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