Amateurs light up smoke-plagued Aussie Open

Japan’s Takumi Kanaya and Chinese Taipei’s Chun An Yu are the unlikely leaders following the first day’s play at the 2019 Australian Open in Sydney.

The pair of amateurs, ranked No. 1 and No. 6 in the world respectively, tore up the Australian Golf Club’s smoke-plagued layout with a pair of 6-under 65′s to lead by two shots from 2015 champion Matt Jones, Daniel Nisbet and 2018 runner-up Dimi Papadatos.

Takumi Kanaya Takumi Kanaya (Credit: Golf Australia)

“I played the Australian Golf Club for the third time this year. I was 17 years old when I played in 2015, so I shot 85 second round, so I learned (the) Australian golf style,” said Kanaya in broken English.

“I just (knew) Japanese golf style before 17 years old. I little bit confidence, I have confidence, but I have three more days, so I will do my best tomorrow.”

While the 21-year-old is not a household name, he has plenty of form prior to his sudden rise to fame following today’s round.

He won the Japan Tour’s ¥200,000,000 Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters just a few weeks ago as an amateur, made the cut at 58th place at the Masters earlier this year and finished top-20 at last year’s Australian Open.

Cameron Smith and Louis Oosthuizen were the next best of the big name players opening with rounds of 68 alongside Paul Casey. While the newly-slimmed down Marc Leishman closed with a 69 to sit one shot in front of Sergio Garcia on 70.

2009 champion Adam Scott had a day he would rather forget finishing with a 4-over 75.

“I just was out of sorts out there. I lost my rhythm after the first hole. I thought I had two nice shots there and missed and then I really struggled on the front nine,” said the 39-year-old.

“I hit some really bad drives that I left and didn’t scramble. Not that I was really chipping either, I was coming in with full stuff for my thirds. I didn’t play very good.”