Ben Ferguson leads a swag of Australians well placed after the first round of stroke play qualifying for the British Amateur Championship in England.
With 64 players to advance to the knockout match play phase after tonight’s second round, the permutations are almost endless with 288 players across two courses in Kent.
And with the famous Royal St George’s (SG) playing at par 70 and substantially tougher statistically than the nearby Prince’s (P) at par 72, it’s hard to draw a line across the field after one round.
But one thing for sure is that only three Aussies – Kyle Michel (+3 P), Kiran Day (+4 P) and Blake Collyer (+5 P) – have played themselves into early trouble.
At the other end of the leaderboard, though, Ferguson continued his impeccable tour of the United Kingdom with a superb -5 (P) to sit in a share of fifth, three behind Icelandic leader Gisli Sveinbergsson.
Ferguson, a member at The Vines who turned 19 on Sunday, was third at last week’s St Andrews Links Trophy and is in arguably the most consistent form of his young career.
The other score of great merit belonged to Wodonga’s Zach Murray.
Murray, captain of the victorious Victorian team at last month’s Interstate Series in Perth, carded a four-under-par 66, the leading score at Royal St George’s.
Like Ferguson, Murray fired seven birdies against two bogeys, but his was one of just 17 scores better than par on the famous 14-time host club of The Open, with only four of them better than 68.
New South Welshman Dylan Perry was among those on -2 at Royal St George’s, with those two the only Aussies at the venue.
Travis Smyth, Min Woo Lee and Will Heffernan each fired rounds of -3 at Prince’s to share 20th place early, while Alex Henderson (-2), Harrison Endycott (-2) and Charlie Dann (-1) also broke par and sit inside the top 64.
Just outside but with work to do are Shae Wools-Cobb (E), David Micheluzzi (+1), Josh Armstrong (+1), Daniel List (+1), Haydn Barron (+1) and James Grierson (+2).
The second round begins at 2pm Australian western time this afternoon.