Blake Windred fired a tournament record-equalling 63 to claim the first-round lead at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in China.
Windred birdied the final four holes at Sheshan International Golf Club to cap a nine-birdie opening round as he ended the first day with a two-stroke lead over Junhong Park.
The Australian took advantage of the near-perfect afternoon conditions, cruising to the turn in 32 with four birdies in six holes and adding another at the 10th before his grandstand finish ensured he would sleep on the overnight lead.
“I just did not want it to end,” said Windred, the world amateur No 11. “I was just enjoying it so much and I’m just shattered it’s ended. “I’m very pleased with the way I played. I think I kind of ticked every goal I had set, so that’s always good. I felt like I executed every shot pretty much down the stretch.
“I didn’t even realise I birdied the last four until I signed the scorecard. The first nine, I kind of struggled getting the pace. I just felt like I could have rolled in a few more. I’m so happy I stayed patient and didn’t start to force it because I knew I had the lines. I was hitting fairways. So, there was always an opportunity to make some down the stretch.”
The winner will book a place at The Masters and The 149th Open next year, but Windred is not getting ahead of himself despite the prospect of teeing up at Augusta National and Royal St George’s.
“If I was to win, I would definitely be playing those majors,” added Windred, who had initially planned to turn professional after this tournament. “It’s a great start, but yeah, we’ve still got three rounds to go.
“I guess this is something that I’ve practiced very hard for, like everyone else. I’ve been working extremely hard on every aspect of my game, and the goal is to win this week. There’s no sugarcoating it; I need to win and that’s it. There’s no other option.