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Josh Geary Leads NZ PGA

Josh Geary during the opening round of the NZ PGA. (Photo: PGA of Australia)
Hometown hero Josh Geary’s strong run of form has continued at the SEC NZ PGA Championship where he leads after the first round.

Teeing off in the morning field, Geary charged his way to the top of the leaderboard shooting 9-under 63.

Thanks to his hot round Geary now holds the Pegasus Golf and Sports Club course record and a two-shot lead over the field.

“I hit the ball nicely all day and gave myself lots of good looks,” said Geary.

“I got off to a good start. I was 5-under through nine holes I made a nice eagle on the par-5 early to kick start my round a bit.

“Then I birdied the 9th hole turning at 5-under and then missed a couple of opportunities on the front-9 but was able to make some nice putts on holes 6 and 7.

“On the last hole there I knocked it on for a chance at eagle but couldn’t quite convert.”

Despite the low score Geary was not fully satisfied with his round, citing missed putting opportunities as an aspect to work on ahead of round two.

“Believe it or not missed some makeable putts but made some bigger ones so it evened out but it felt a bit weird,” he added.

“I made some good big ones but couldn’t really make the mid-range ones but I’m happy with the way I hit it.

“My game was really solid, especially when the wind got up. Those last nine holes were quite tough in that wind.”

South-easterly winds picked up around the Christchurch course as the round progressed. Conditions are expected to remain much the same ahead of tomorrow’s second round where Geary will join Australians Matt Millar and Ben Eccles in the afternoon.

“My game is in good shape but tomorrow will be very dependent on the weather as to how we go,” continued Geary.

“If we get a windy draw it could be quite tough but if it’s calm it could be easier so it was a great start to the event.

“I just need to capitalise and play solid tomorrow in the afternoon because it will be much harder than this morning.”

Australian Jack Weston is also off to a flying start in his first tournament as a professional sitting alone in second place, two shots off the lead.

Turning pro at the start of 2019, Weston joined the field at the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia event through Monday’s pre-qualifying.

“I turned pro about six weeks ago,” said Weston.

“I tried to pre-qualify for the Queensland PGA Championship a couple of weeks ago and didn’t make it but I pre-qualified again on Monday and made it through.

“My biggest goal was just to get into a tournament and I knew once I was there I could showcase my golf out and that’s what I did today.

“I’m happy with 65 and to be here in my first event I have no words. It’s all a massive learning curve for me so I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

A total of four players finished the day in a tie for third place at 6-under the card, with Blake Proverbs and Daniel Fox playing in the morning round followed by Nick Flanagan and Sam An this afternoon.

“It got quite windy out there but I just tried to play as solid as I could, play some good shots, hole some nice putts and obviously 66 is quite pleasing,” said An.

“I’m happy I had a good round today, with all of my struggles I didn’t know if I would play this well on a track like this but I’m getting better and I’m super stoked after today.”

Flanagan echoed An’s thoughts that ‘boring’ but solid golf was what it took in the windy conditions to make a good score.

“It was pretty tricky early but I played pretty solid all of the way through that and once it died down on the last four or five holes, I had a good run at it coming in and got it done in the end,” Flanagan added.

“I just played really steady golf. I made putts that I should have made, I missed a couple of small putts for birdie, probably like every round it could have been better but it could have been worse.”

Highlighting today’s morning round was a hole-in-one from Marco Zirov on the 169 meter 11th hole where he hit the ace shot with a 4-iron, a first on tour for the New South Welshman.

Play in round two will begin at 7:45am at Pegasus Golf and Sports Club on Friday.

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