A pair of international amateurs lead a smoke-covered Emirates Australian Open after opening-round sixty fives.
Japan’s world amateur number one Takumi Kanaya, already a winner on the Japanese Tour and Chinese Taipei’s Chiun-An Yu lead by a shot from Sydney’s Matt Jones, Dimi Papadatos, and Queensland’s Daniel Nisbet.
Daniel Gale, Scott Arnold and Blake Windred are part of a bunched up field a further shot back after opening with matching 68’s.
Playing in the morning half of the draw, Windred was quietly pleased with his opening 68.
“I am rolling it great on these greens,” he said post-round. “It was a matter of simply getting it done. It might be the prettiest 68, but it looks good on the leaderboard.”
With a bunch of talented players packed so close together one could have been excused for thinking the tightness of the field was the talking point, but it was the hazardous atmospheric conditions caused by Sydney’s bushfires which were the hot topic of the championship.
Kiwi Ryan Chisnall, a bad asthmatic, struggled all day and looked in some distress midway through his opening round. Despite the apparent distress the Kiwi managed to card a respectable even par 71.
The conditions were of little concern for Chuan- An Yu, who was thrilled with his afternoon’s effort.
“I’ve played here four, five years ago and so I know the course a little bit. I played great out there, so hopefully tomorrow I can do it again,
“The air didn’t smell good, but I can get used to it, so no big deal to me.
“Hopefully tomorrow morning is not as much wind as this afternoon, so hopefully tomorrow I can shoot a better round and do better.