NSW Golf

Smyth bags seven to lead NT by two

Travis Smyth
Travis Smyth has a two shot lead after the first round of the Northern Territory PGA

Travis Smyth has wasted no time showing people he means business by taking a two shot lead after the first round of the Northern Territory PGA Championship at Palmerston Golf Club in Darwin.

After making the quarter finals at the U.S. Amateur, Smyth maintained his recent excellent form with his prodigious talent on full display today.

Playing in the afternoon field, Smyth played a flawless round of golf firing 7-under 64 to lead the tournament by two shots.

“Golf is a great game when you are playing well, I am enjoying it at the moment,” said Smyth.

“I have played a number of Pro events, I am getting more and more comfortable with it and it’s good fun. I would really like to try and step it up against these guys.

Step it up he has, Smyth was exceptional all day but his highlight came early with a birdie at the par-5 2nd.

“I hit in the trees on the par-5 and probably shouldn’t have tried to hit over the trees again but I went for it,” added Smyth.

“It ricocheted around the trees and then I was up against a tree again. I chipped it out to the front of the green and then chipped it in, so I wasn’t expecting that.

“All my other birdies were good shots into greens and I holed 10-15 foot putts.”

The 22-year-old thanked defending champion Jordan Zunic after his 64, the pair played a practice game together to the advantage of the first round leader.

“We played 9 holes the other day and he unfortunately beat me on the last hole so I had to buy lunch.

“It was good to map my way around with him. I changed my strategy a little bit after playing with him which definitely helped today, so I would like to thank Jordan Zunic.

“When I had played by myself I was slightly too aggressive on a number of holes. Not knowing the course I just hit driver. I switched to hitting iron or hybrid off the tee on a couple of holes.”

Sitting two shots behind the amateur are season Professionals Max McCardle and Neven Basic, playing in the same group the pair fired rounds of 5-under 66.

A regular visitor to the Top End, McCardle utilised his course knowledge making the most of the opportunities that came his way.

“I have some relatives here on my fiancés side; we spend a fair bit of time up here through the year, about two or three weeks.

“I am quite familiar with the course; I have played here quite a lot over the past six years. I have played it in all different conditions and have different strategies to try and attack the course,” added McCardle, who described his round as boring.

“I made a really good birdie on three which I think is one of the tougher holes, so I probably stole one there.

“I just plodded my way around, hit some fairways and greens, didn’t do too much wrong.

“I hit it real close on 12, within a couple of inches, so that was probably the highlight. It was a well controlled round and I was happy to capitalise on the opportunities that I had.”

While Basic was making birdies on course this morning, he started his week in the Northern Territory by catching fish.

“I actually ticked something off my bucket list which was to catch a mulloway, a jewfish, I managed to get two of them so it just set me up for a really good week,” said Basic.

“It wasn’t that relaxing, we caught some really big jewfish, spotted trevally and a few sharks. It was actually quite hard work and a few of the boys were exhausted after it. I loved it.”

After a slow start to his round, Basic was back on track with a birdie at the par-4 6th hole and rode the momentum for the rest of the round.

“I finished birdie, birdie which is always nice. I got off to a bit of a dodgy start, I was 1-over after three and I started hitting some good shots and making some putts,” added Basic.

“I played with Max, he played great and had 5-under as well so we carried the momentum through.

“I just stayed patient, there are plenty of birdies out there but also bogeys so you need to hit good shots and I took advantage of them.”

On 4-under the card and rounding out the top-5 after the first round are; Deyen Lawson, Josh Younger, Andrew Schonewille and Darren Beck.

The second round of the Northern Territory PGA Championship will tee off tomorrow at 7.30am with Travis Smyth on course at Palmerston Golf Course at 8.20am.

22 February 2019
AVONDALE: Men: Stableford White: A: M Rotsey (12) 44. B: H Liu (15) 37. C: C Heazlewood (31) 38. A Scr: R Wallace 39. more
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