Ben Ferguson and Connor Fewkes led the amateur challenge after the opening round of the WA PGA Championship at the picturesque Kalgoorlie Golf Course on Thursday.

Ferguson sprung out of the traps with birdies in his opening three holes before finishing the day square to be alongside Fewkes, who used his knowledge to stay within sight of the leaders.

Victorian Peter Wilson, who won this event five years ago, finished the day at the top of the leaderboard after equalling the course record with an eight-under 64.

Stephen Leaney is the best placed of the West Aussies, two strokes off the lead, while defending champion Stephen Dartnall made a solid start on return to his home state with a four-under 68.

The latest stop on the ISPS Handa Tour of Australasia has allowed a number of amateurs to get a taste of life on the professional scene with Ferguson one of three players in the field who played for WA at last week’s Interstate Series at Melville Glades.

Min Woo Lee scrambled his way to a two-under 74, in a round that included four birdies but also two double bogeys, while WA captain Kiran Day is a shot further back alongside Hayden Hopewell at plus-three.

US Junior Amateur champion Lee holds the course record around Kalgoorlie GC after firing an opening-round 64 two years ago to lead the event.

It was his WA team-mate Ferguson, and local boy Fewkes, who enjoyed the best of the day from the amateur perspective, however, on the Graham Marsh designed lay-out.

Ferguson raced to the top of the early-morning leaderboard following his fast start although his momentum was checked with bogeys at the fourth and fifth.

He steadied himself to remain one-under at the turn before a more circumspect back-nine where he dropped a shot at the par-four 15th.

Fewkes was a part of the WA squad that claimed the Junior Interstate Series title in New South Wales last month and he showed he could live in the company of the professionals on his home track.

The teenager started on the back-nine and was one-under at the turn, after birdies at the 11th and 18th, before picking up another stroke at the par-three fourth.

Back-to-back bogeys dropped Fewkes back to square but still in the thick of the action as he looks to reach the weekend.

Jose De Sousa shot an 80 while Ebony Riordan, who earned an invite into the tournament on her home course, carded an 82.

Sunday’s play will be streamed live on the PGA TV website while highlights from each day are also available.

Tags:  , , , ,