Warm temperatures, gentle breezes and not a cloud in the sky as the first groups took to the course at 6.00am.
Those forced out of bed at 3.30am to ensure they were at the course well ahead of their early tee times may have cursed Queensland’s denial of daylight saving but on the plus side they were presented with some of the best conditions imaginable on the revamped Graham Marsh-designed layout.
Defending champion, Cameron Smith, was amongst those early starters and the Queenslander attracted a large group of family, friends and fans as he got first use of the course from the 10th tee with Curtis luck and Andrew (Beef) Johnston at 6.00am.
Smith’s joint favourite for the event, Marc Leishman was out in the second group from the 10th tee on day one along with Adrian Otaegui and Ryan Fox and it would be the Spaniard Otaegui who would make the first move with birdies at the 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th, a bogey at the demanding 11th the only dampener in his fast start.
Leading ranked Marc Leishman approaches his 2nd hole.
Otaegui is one of the higher ranked players in the field and with a 4th place finish at the DP World Tour Championship and a 3rd place finish at the Turkish Airlines event recently he was in fine form ahead of the event.
Otaegui was joined at 3 under by Queenslanders Damien Jordan and Jake McLeod along with Queensland based Northern Territorian Anthony Quayle, both Quayle and McLeod considered amongst the best of Australia’s rising stars.
The RACV Royal Pines layout is a far cry from when the fully revamped layout was presented for the first time for this championship in 2015 when a score of even par won the tournament.
Already, low scoring is the order of the day as the field takes advantage of the increasingly receptive golf course and the perfect scoring conditions.
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