With day one of the action all wrapped up at the Australian PGA Champiosnhip, what are the key storylines so far?
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
While the eyes of most of the golfing world are fixed firmly on the Bahamas and the return of Tiger Woods to competitive golf, there are a couple of notable tournaments elsewhere around the world this week too.
The Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa marks one of the first European Tour events of the season, while the Australian PGA Championship marks the conclusion of the PGA Tour of Australasia season in an event that is co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
An event that has always held real significance for great Australian golfers over the years, this year’s field is packed with locals looking to join illustrious company with a win in Queensland.
Having earned fan favorite status with his play in this event last season, Harold Varner III returns to the Australian PGA Championship after a tough rookie season on the PGA Tour.
With positive memories of just narrowly missing out on a win in a playoff here in 2015, Varner impressed on Thursday on the Gold Coast, even if he didn’t get to complete his round due to a thunderstorm.
Having parred his first six holes, the 26-year-old Australian then proceeded to birdie five of his next eight before play was suspended for the day. Sitting in a tie for second, Varner will resume play at 7.20am local time and will have real hopes of seizing the outright lead.
After disappointing home fans relative to expectations at last week’s World Cup of Golf alongside Marc Leishman, Adam Scott showed much more of what’s expected of him as the top ranked player in the field this week.
Scott will have been left with a sour taste in his mouth having gone bogey free up until the 18th hole, where he finally came unstuck thanks to his scorecard’s only blemish.
Outside of that single error, three birdies and an eagle offered up glimpses of Adam Scott at his best. Considering the relative depth of the field, if he can play at that level for four days it’ll be very tough for anyone else to walk away with the trophy.
At only 26 years old, Danny Lee still has all of the time in the world to realize his full potential, but as of yet he hasn’t quite delivered. When Lee won on the European Tour as an 18-year-old amateur, nobody would have expected that he would have had to wait until 2015 for his next win on one of the world’s biggest tours.
Still, since winning the Greenbrier Classic in a playoff 17 months ago, Lee has shown signs of contending more often and with an opening 69, he should be in position to do so here.
After an early bogey on the second hole, the New Zealander bounced back to make four birdies in the rest of his round, leaving him just outside the top-10.