“You never stop learning in this game, do you?” the 40-year-old six-time European Tour winner lamented later.
“Whether it be concentration….59 did pop in my head. Only 5-under on that front nine, which is very doable.
“Unfortunately I let it slip up, duffing it from 10 metres in front of the green on number one, which was our 10th hole, into the bunker. So lesson learned.”
Despite the mental error Rumford signed for an 8-under 64 on day one, good enough for a two stroke lead over Lee Westwood and James Nitties on a day of low scoring at Perth’s most highly regarded layout.
32 players are within five shots of the lead and almost half the field is under par after 18 holes as players jostle for positon to make today’s first cut, to low 65 and ties.
A second cut after Saturday’s third round will see the field reduced to 24 who will play a series of six hole matches Sunday to determine a winner.
While pleased with his play Thursday Rumford says he isn’t concerned with his score this week, only qualifying for Sunday’s matches.
“I'm inside the top 24 and that's my only focus this week is finish inside that number,” he said after his round.
“Whether I lead the qualifying again, that would be a nice bonus but it's not my priority this week and I'm playing accordingly, too.”
Brett Rumford is our leader!February 8, 2018
Rumford played alongside English stars Lee Westwood and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, all three starting fast from the 10th tee.
Johnston holed out with a wedge for an eagle to start the day then birdied the next but endured a humiliating nine at the par-4 second hole to eventually finish 1-over.
Westwood’s 6-under could have been even better but for a number of close calls with the putter while James Nitties’ 66 came in the more difficult afternoon conditions.
Nine players share fourth place at 5-under including Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat and the Australian duo of Wade Ormsby and Jason Scrivener.
While pleased with his 67 Scrivener, a West Australian who has good history at Lake Karrinyup, felt he could have been better.
“I think 7 or 8 under was a decent score today,” he said after signing his card.
“Saying that, I'm not unhappy with 5 under. I just know this golf course so well so yeah, just let a few go.
“It was a funny day, got off to a pretty slow start. Obviously saw what Brett was doing and Lee were doing up front, kind of made it feel even worse.
“As easy as it's ever going to play out here. I'm not disappointed with 5 under, but definitely there's a really low one out there today.”
The top 24 after Saturday will qualify for the matchplay rounds with the top eight getting a first round bye.
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