Round 1 reaction: Fortinet Australian PGA and WPGA Championships

Round 1 reaction: Fortinet Australian PGA and WPGA Championships

The Royal Queensland regulars dominated the men’s event while Su Oh showed her class in the WPGA Championship. All the reaction from day one.

Aaron Pike grabbed the early lead in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship with a course record six-under 65 only to be overtaken late by reigning Australian Amateur champion and fellow RQ regular Louis Dobbelaar.

Su Oh’s morning round of five-under 66 was a mark that stood all day in the Fortinet Australian WPGA Championship with Grace Kim (69) her nearest challenger. Karis Davidson and Julienne Soo are four strokes off the lead after rounds of one-under 70.

Here is all the reaction from an enthralling day’s play at Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane.

Louis Dobbelaar, seven-under 64

On holing out from 102m for eagle on his second hole

“I wasn’t expecting it to land straight in. That was pretty good to get the round kick started. I had some good shots after that and got some momentum going.”

On leading such an historic championship so early in his career

“I mean, that’s a pretty cool feeling. My game definitely feels good, so just got to keep trusting myself and doing all the good things right.”

On the shift in mindset from amateur to professional golf

“I haven’t made any money yet, so it’s definitely something new to me. I think it’s probably a bit overwhelming at first when you haven’t really earnt much, so once I accepted that I think I can just keep on doing my stuff and just play golf after that.”

Su Oh, five-under 66

On starting the WPGA Championship in such strong fashion

“There was not too many mistakes, I think I just made one bad shot. The ball was in the wrong spot on 16, it was pretty tricky. I got away with a four on 14 but that was just a good putt, just hit it in the wrong spot. The bunkers are so small, but they just get your ball and then they’re all awkward angles. It’s not just one circle bunker, so if you’re in it, it’s really tricky, because you’re on a downhill slope and can’t really get enough height on it sometimes. Other than that I played quite well. I definitely three-putted seven and that wasn’t very good. Other than that, everything else was quite good.”

On playing with Min Woo Lee and Blake Windred

“It was good. I thought we won’t be doing that because it’s a separate trophy but it’s always nice playing with the guys. They play a different game so it’s nice to see what kind of shots they’ve got.  Sometimes I’m like, I hit it a lot straighter than them, so it’s also kind of nice to know.

On the galleries out early at Royal Queensland

“We teed off at 6.45 and having the men and women together, hopefully it helps to bring the crowd.  I was coming in and they were checking credentials at five o’clock in the morning and I was like, surely there’ll be nobody here. Then I got to the tee and the tee was surrounded. It was really nice to see. I haven’t been playing with that much crowd, only in the second half of the year last year, so it was so nice to see a lot of people. I saw a few kids out there, so you know, it’s nice. Maybe everyone likes to get up earlier before the heat here or something. I can tell you in Melbourne, people would not be out there at 6.45.”

Aaron Pike, six-under 65

On his comfort level of playing Royal Queensland

“Obviously being a Brisbane boy, I’m pretty fortunate to get to play out here a bit and in terms of golf courses, this is one that really does suit my game. It’s quite open off the tee and you’ve got to be a bit more precise with your irons and putting’s a real premium. Those factors, it does bode well for me, but you’ve also got to do it. I’m pretty chuffed at being able to play in my home city.”

On his position at the top of the leaderboard

“That’s something that all of the boys and the girls that are out here playing this week just have to get used to. You want to be winning these. You want to be at the top of the tree. You want the camera on you, you want the interviews, you want all these kind of things. Being comfortable being uncomfortable is something that I’ve had to get over and learn to do. It’s something that comes pretty easy, but as I said, I’m playing a golf course I know pretty well.”

On the added lure of opportunities on the DP World Tour announced on Wednesday

“Any more spots that we’ve got to get onto those bigger and more advanced tours and stuff like that, it’s an incentive that we want. All we want is an opportunity in this game. We want the opportunity to show what we can do, and that’s just another opportunity. Whoever gets it, whether it’s me or Michael Sim or whoever it might be – Brad Kennedy gets it again, they deserve it. If you finish top three, you deserve it. That’s what we’re aiming for.”

Jed Morgan, six-under 65

On playing the Australian PGA at the course where is a member

“I started pretty ordinary. I was very nervous. I had a lot of support and I guess a bit of expectation on myself. I was pretty nervous trying to handle that first few holes but then rolled one in on five and just said, Keep going for it and it turned out pretty well. I’m pretty happy. I hadn’t even teed off on 17 and all the boys in the back were cheering already. They knew I was on the tee box. I said to Marco, my caddy, you don’t get this very often, so I’m over the moon.”

On the lure of a DP World Tour card for top three finishers on the Order of Merit

Yeah, absolutely, that’s sick. Obviously next week’s purse has bumped up to 200 (thousand) and they just promised $2 mil for this at the end of the year, so it’s sick. There’s nothing better than playing on home soil, whether it’s in a different state or not, but yeah, it’s awesome.”

Sarah Jane Smith, even par 71

On how she handled day one of the WPGA Championship

“It got windy pretty early in the day really, but I was happy with the way I hit it. I just didn’t hole all my putts. I putted nicely but just didn’t make them today. It’s nice to get a good steady start. I was really nervous actually at the beginning. I knew I had a really nice group and I know Michael Sim quite well, but it was different, new. I was really fortunate, I had a great group and they kind of looked after me.”

On the challenge presented by the course

“Even just from Monday, just because there was a lot of rain and a lot of wind, it’s dried up a little bit. There’s some sneaky little spots where you’ve got to be careful that you don’t go – there’s some pins close to the back, so it’s easy to run off the back and make a bit of a mess of things.”

On the hot start by Su Oh

“It’s awesome. I just sort of caught a quick glimpse of the leaderboard, but she’s playing really well.  It’s a good score out there. I mean, it’s pretty tough that back nine.”

Brad Kennedy, four-under 67

On the composition of his opening round

“There was some really good bit of ugly. They’re the types of days where you’ve just got to grit the teeth and try and get back to the basics, just continually try and hit fairways and greens. I struggled trying to map out this golf course. I managed to keep out of the fairway bunkers until the second shot on the ninth but the way I played, I probably didn’t feel like I shot four-under. I’ve got to go to work on the range and try and work some things out.”

On his eagle at the par-4 12th

“It was just the perfect club for me. The perfect driver and just nailed it straight at the flag and hit it to about eight feet and managed to make it. It’s one of those risk/reward holes and I think the type of course that this is, you’ve got to try and take on those holes as much as you can, because there’s a lot of difficult holes coming.”

On the chance to play a major tournament in his home state

“It’s nice to be just a 50-minute drive from home. I’ve got friends and family out today so it’s nice to be able to just come out and see the crowds, especially in Queensland. They’re starving for sport, starving for things to come and watch, so hopefully on the weekend we can have good Queensland weather and really try and put on a show for everybody.”

Min Woo Lee, three-under 68

On his opening round of the year

“Good first round. It was a little scrappy I guess on a couple of the holes, but expected, first tournament back in a few weeks. I could have made a few more birdies, but it is what it is. There’s a bit of grain on the greens and it got pretty windy out there, so that’s expected.”

On playing alongside Su Oh and Blake Windred

“It’s actually very fun, it’s enjoyable. There wasn’t anything weird about it, I don’t think.  It was my first time playing with a lady in an event, ever. It was actually really cool, I enjoyed it. Su putted really well. I could probably get that off her, but other than that, Windred played solid. If we clean up a few things as a group, we’ll have a low one.”

On his prediction for the winning score at year’s end

“I want to say maybe 15-under, maybe a bit more.  I think if you shoot 15 you’re going to be up there.”