Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

Lawson’s bogey-free round of eight-under 62 equalled the course record set by Curtis Luck in the 2016 WA Open and established a two-stroke buffer to unheralded Queenslander Ryley Martin (64).
Last week’s 54-hole leader in Kalgoorlie, Jarryd Felton, is in a share of third with South Australian Jack Thompson and local amateur Joshua Greer at five-under 65 followed by six players at four-under including Western Australian Golf Club member Haydn Barron and reigning British Amateur champion Aldrich Potgieter.
But no one could match Lawson’s day one total, a score that early in his back nine raised the possibility of going sub-60.
A birdie at the par-3 9th saw the Gold Coast-based Lawson turn in six-under 29. He narrowly missed birdie opportunities at both 10 and 11 and then hit 3-wood to 15 feet to set up an eagle putt at the par-4 12th.
Six-under through 11 holes, it was on that walk from the 12th tee that Lawson momentarily pondered the prospect of shooting 59, quickly catching himself to refocus on the shot at hand.
That mental presence has been an area in which Lawson has been working on with coach Darrell Brown and helped to keep his opening round on track.
“I thought about it for about half a second,” Lawson said of the prospect of posting 59 at the par-70 layout.
“After I hit that tee shot to 15 feet I thought, I can hole that to go eight-under with six holes to go. That’s three more birdies. And then I walked off the tee and into the trees and forgot about everything I was thinking about.
“I’ve been in that position before and it’s not good to think about it.”
He two-putted for birdie at 12 and almost holed his wedge at the par-4 17th, tapping in to go eight-under.
There was an opportunity to claim the course record outright on the final hole, his birdie putt from 12 feet at the par-5 18th sliding by the left side of the hole.
Part of a large Australian contingent who will head to Second Stage of DP World Tour qualifying school in Spain in early November, Lawson arrived at The Western Australian Golf Club a different player to the one who missed the cut in 2016.
The 31-year-old spent almost four months in Europe playing the Challenge Tour this year and believes he is physically and mentally in the best shape of his career.
“The game and swing feels as though it is trending in probably the best direction that it ever has,” said Lawson, who will tee off at 12.36pm AWST on Friday.
“The stuff that I have been doing off the course in terms of preparing and practising, trying to get my body in better condition. I feel better so if I’m feeling better physically then mentally as well it’s helping.
“I know when my game’s on it can compete anywhere. It’s when it’s not that it needs to be a bit better.”
A product of the same Brisbane golf club that fostered the talents of Open champion Cameron Smith, Martin birdied the final two holes of his round to be Lawson’s closest challenger at six-under.
A junior out of Wantima Country Club, Martin picked up five shots in the space of four holes to turn in five-under 30, bogeys at 10 and 14 offset by birdies at 13, 17 and 18 as he eyes his best tournament as a professional.
Tied third in Kalgoorlie last week, Felton looms as a title threat once again, putting himself in contention thanks in part to an eagle at the par-4 12th.
“It was probably the best shot of my life,” Felton enthused of his tee shot at the downhill 288-metre par-4, completing his round with a chip-in birdie at the par-3 9th.
“A little 3-wood there to eight feet and holed the putt for eagle which was a really nice way to get the round started.
“Last week was a bit disappointing but good to get the season underway with a T3. Hopefully I can continue that here.”
Shot of the day belonged to WA’s Ben Ferguson, who had a hole-in-one at the par-3 11th.
Hailing from The Vines, Ferguson hit 8-iron from 164m to pick up two shots in his round of one-over 73.

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By admin