New Zealanders Harry Bateman [above] and Ryan Chisnall [below] mastered the RACV Cape Schanck Resort to share the lead after the opening round of the Victorian PGA Championship.
Bateman’s round was particularly impressive, presenting a clean scorecard in what is a notoriously windy part of Australia: the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne.
“It was challenging, it was really gusty and you had to be on your game,” Bateman said. “I had to hit the ball the best I’ve hit it in a long time and made a few putts as well so it was a great result.”
Playing a new course on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, Bateman said while it’s not long off the tee, it’s easy to lose your bundle and shoot a big score.
“It’s one of the shortest courses we’ve played on tour, but with the wind like this and the greens the way they are, you’ve got to hit it in the right spots otherwise you’re doing well to make bogey. It feels like if you hit a bad shot you can make double just like that so to keep it bogey free is really satisfying.”
Chisnall was on track for the outright lead, he was seven-under before consecutive bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes halted his momentum on the way into the clubhouse.
“It was an interesting one. I’m happy with five-under, I’ll take it and run,” said Chisnall, who is still in his first year as a professional. “It was disappointing in the end to finish the way I did with the bogeys on 16 and 17 but I’m happy with that score.”
Chisnall echoed Bateman’s sentiments on the difficulty of playing in gusty winds around Cape Schanck.
“To shoot that in those conditions, the flags weren’t overly easy as well, so if you would’ve told me I’d have 65 I definitely would take it,” Chisnall said. “The key to this course is getting in play as much as you can and then putting it in the right spots on the greens so hopefully more of the same tomorrow.”
The Kiwi is coming off a runner-up finish in the Harewood Open on the Charles Tour.
“It’s been good to get golf in before this week, it’s been a quiet winter for me, so to play well last week leading into this run of tournaments and get into a bit of form is really pleasing.”
Darren Beck and Nick Flanagan are two shots behind at three-under the card, followed by Neven Basic and Rick Kulacz at two-under.
Maverick Antcliff and amateur partner Danny Lovell are leading the Victorian PGA Championship Celebrity Challenge at 11-under with Josh Younger and Campbell Neal (a) at nine-under and Daniel Gale and Ozkan Sahin (a) third at eight-under.
Bateman will tee off today at 2:59pm NZDT, with Chisnall off at 3:21pm. A full leaderboard and tee-times are available at pga.org.au.