Giles, Paddison lead Victorian PGA field
Matthew Giles and Gareth Paddison share the lead after the opening round of the Victorian PGA Championship at Huntingdale Golf Club.
Giles played a bogey free round to finish on 7-under 65 while Paddison made up for his single bogey on the 1st with an eagle on the 7th to end the first tournament round of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season with a share of the lead.
“I played very solid today, hit the ball well and hit a few long putts which is obviously always a bonus,” Giles said of his strong start.
Huntingdale hasn’t always been kind to Giles and having missed the cut at this venue last year, he came with a new plan for the 2017 edition.
“I’ve never really played well here previously but I’ve got a bit of a plan for this course this time around,” added Giles.
“I only hit driver two or three times today and I’m playing it pretty conservatively off the tee.
New Zealander Paddison credited his lead to his smart play on the par-5 holes which took the pressure off the rest of his game.
“I hit a lot of birdies and a lot of one-putts which was quite nice and I played the par-5’s really well,” Paddison said.
“My second shots in to the par-5’s were massive for me and I was hitting my one-putt’s off them too. It makes it a damn sight easier to play golf when you’re playing the par-5’s well around here.”
The leading score was a welcome surprise for Paddison who admittedly has never started so well in a tournament.
“It was a bit unexpected to go that low on a Championship course like this but I’ve played a lot at Huntingdale and it was nice to hit some good shots and capitalise on them.”
Aron Price and Josh Younger set the pace early and were leading at the conclusion of the morning session, however find themselves one shot a drift at the end of the first round.
Victorian Younger used his experience playing at Huntingdale to his advantage to shoot a 6-under 66 that included seven birdies and only the one bogey on the 18th.
“It was a good round, I got off to a good start and made a couple of birdies late around the back-9, unfortunately I bogeyed the last but I’ll take that,” Younger said.
“I putted pretty well and I only made the one bogey on the last hole, I played the par-5’s really well and it was just a good solid round.
Younger said his approach this time around has been the biggest change he’s made in preparation for the Championship.
“I’ve played here quite a bit but never very well, so I’ve a changed a few things heading in to this week and so far it’s worked, hopefully it continues.”
Meanwhile, Price who got off to a shaky start, putted his way to match Younger at 6-under 66.
“My putting was definitely the highlight of my game today I didn’t hit that many too close, I holed probably four putts outside of 15 feet so that’s rare for me!”
Damien Jordan and Tom Power Horan make up a four-way-tie in third with Younger and Price.
In the pro-am portion of the tournament, Aron Price and Darryn Lowe from TaylorMade have got off to a flying start thanks to Price’s 6-under 66. Not to be out done Lowe made significant contributions to the team score as the pair combined for a 11-under 61. They hold a one shot lead heading into the second and final round of the team’s championship..
The Victorian PGA Championship will be played from 2-4 February at Huntingdale Golf Club with a field of 92 players vying for a prize purse of AU$100,000.