Korean Chang Gi Lee was denied a share of the lead in the opening round of the WA Open after being penalised two strokes for hitting another player’s ball on his final hole yesterday.
Gi Lee tied with overnight leader Shae Wools-Cobb on five under after eagling the eighth, but after he hit Tristan Geerling’s ball in the bunker on the ninth he was justly penalised, recoding a double-bogey.
This left Wools-Cobb as the only leader after shooting a five-under 67 in the opening round at Cottesloe Golf Club.
But it was a pair of young West Australian amateurs who stunned the experienced field, taking full advantage of the calm morning conditions.
Scottish-born, Perth-based 17-year-old Connor McKinney and Fremantle’s Hayden Hopewell, 17, sit amongst five others in equal second after a four under first round.
McKinney put a second hole bogey behind him to hit four-consecutive birdies from four to seven, with a missed putt on 18 costing him a sixth first-round birdie and a share of the lead.
“In any tournament it is a good way to start, so it gives me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the week,” McKinney said.
“A 4.30am start to tee off at 6.50am can be very challenging, but I got a good draw being there was very little wind out there.
“I just made the most of it.”
McKinney said he was pleased with his short iron game, which led to his four-straight birdies and would look to work on his driving as he looks to make today’s cut.
“It just happened really,” he said on his streak.
“I hit a good one onto four, pretty close, then five again I was just six feet away.
“I didn’t drive it too well. The score is fine, but I think it (improving) will help me save a couple of shots heading into the next round.”
Hopewell bogeyed the final hole of a strong first round, which included five birdies, but was not about to let the lapse get him down.
“I rolled in a few putts early and hit a few good bunker shots, got myself rolling,” he said.
“The middle six was a bit of a grind, I missed a few fairways and missed a few greens.
“I held some round saving putts, got through to 15 and tried to make some birdies coming home.”
Former winners Daniel Fox (-4) and Oliver Goss (-3) are also in a good position after strong starts, with the formers only blemish a bogey on 12.
New South Welshman Troy Moses was an impressive six under after 15, but bogeyed two of the final three holes to finish the day in equal second.
European tour veteran Brett Rumford had a tough day, with three bogeys and a double bogey on the third to finish on par.