Mark Hutson and Zachary May have the joint lead after the opening day of the Christies Floorings Mount Open, one shot ahead of Jennian Homes Charles Tour leader Daniel Hillier.
Hutson got off to a hot start this morning to post the early clubhouse lead. He made eight birdies and the single bogey to dust off the cobwebs after a month of no tournament golf.
He said he was very pleased with the start to his golf tournament.
“Yeah it was very solid,” Hutson said. “I didn’t play particularly well in the pro-am yesterday, so it was nice to come out with a hot start and managed to keep it rolling which was nice.
“It’s been a little while between competitive rounds. You never really know what to expect when you tee it up for the first time after a bit of a break.
“I’ve been paying fairly solid when I’ve been playing casually so it was nice to prove that in a competitive round.”
Hutson said playing well in these events has been at the forefront of his mind this year and is pleased he’s been able to do that in the season finale.
“It’s been a goal of mine to contend in a couple of these events this year and it hasn’t quite worked out so far. To be there or thereabouts after the first round is pleasing albeit there is a little way to go.
“It’s nice to get off to a good start.”
Equaling him at the top is Cantabrian Zachary May who fired his career-best tournament round.
Like Hutson, May made eight birdies and the lone bogey to share the lead, which is something he’s proud of.
“It was pretty cool,” May said, “I teed off 13 and got off to a pretty hot start and birdied my first two holes. I was really happy with how I was able to keep the pedal down and post a good score.
“This is my best tournament round by a couple, and it was pleasing to see the birdies keep on coming.”
May is a man of many talents having represented Canterbury in golf, hockey, and cricket. He said that playing a range of sports at a high level has been beneficial to his golf which paid dividends today.
“Golf has always been the passion and has been what I’ve wanted to do. Playing those sports to a high level will be good in the long run as I’m able to put myself under pressure playing big games in other sports.”
Meanwhile, Jennian Homes Trophy leader Daniel Hillier is lurking just a single shot behind the leaders.
Only Hydes and Toomey can steal the show for Hillier if they win the event.
He said it was a weird feeling stepping on the first tee playing with Hydes.
“Being paired with Jimmy [Hydes] and knowing him and Luke [Toomey] are the only ones that can catch me was a little weird,” Hillier said.
“I was playing matchplay with him for a bit at the start and we were both going pretty well. I know around this sort of golf course Jimmy is going to go well as he hits it very straight and has a wicked short game.
“As long as I can keep on my toes and keep up with him, I should be okay.”
Hillier had the best of his fellow tour finalists with seven birdies and a bogey to finish on 6-under, James Hydes finished on 2-under with a round of 70 while Luke Toomey shot 74 for a 2-over opening round, 8 shots behind Hillier.
Leaderboard after Round 1
T1 Mark HUTSON -7 65
T1 Zachary MAY -7 65
3 Daniel HILLIER -6 66
T4 Tae KOH -5 67
T4 Jaeseung NA -5 67
T4 Kit BITTLE -5 67
T4 Chang Gi LEE -5 67