Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ewan Porter leads IFQ Australasia with a 68

Ewan Porter’s early score of four under par 68 has remained the number to beat at the end of the first day of International Final Qualifying Australasia with the Sydneysider holding onto a one-shot lead over Peter Senior and Aaron Townsend at Kingston Heath.
Big-hitting New South Welshman Kurt Barnes is tied for fourth place alongside West Australian Kim Felton after the pair shot two under par rounds of 70 with last year’s qualifier, Michael Wright, in sixth place on one under and a group of seven players, including locals Alistair Presnell and Steve Jones, tied seventh and even with the card.
Teeing off in the fifth morning group a relaxed Porter made the most of the benign early conditions, posting six birdies and two bogeys on his way to a four-under 68 on the famed Melbourne Sandbelt lay-out. It was pleasing start to the year for Porter who took a three-month break from the game last year to re-charge and re-ignite his passion for the game.
“It was a little surprising today because usually it takes me a tournament or two to get rid of the rust and be feeling fresh. The last few years I have struggled in January and played better in February so this is a nice way to start,” said Porter who was most pleased with his solid putting performance.
“The mental side of my game is what has let me down in the past. Over the last three or four months physically I feel a lot better but mentally it’s always going to be a work in progress for me. I can be pretty harsh on myself but I always play a lot better when I am relaxed.”
A two-time qualifier through IFQ Australasia, the affable Porter admitted he was aiming for his hat-trick and had something to prove after twice qualifying at his home club at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney in 2007 & 2008.
“It would be nice to qualify here to prove it’s not just The Lakes I can do it at but it’s still early in the year. I’ve been playing alot of golf albeit socially over the last few weeks and I’m feeling pretty good about my game.”Porter holds a one shot lead playing partner Aaron Townsend, winner of the 2008 New South Wales Open and 50 year old Peter Senior.
For Senior, his attempt at an 18th appearance at The Open Championship (he last competed in 2000 at St Andrews) comes off the back of winning 2009 US Champions Tour Qualifying School and would be a double reason to celebrate as he is exempt into the 2010 British Seniors Open, courtesy of his position in the top 30 Career Money Earners on the European Tour.
“The last six months of last year I played really well and then I took a couple of weeks off so I am just trying to regain that feeling for playing,” said Senior, whose round today included an eagle at the par 5, 7th. “It’s nearly there...I am hitting some decent shots but I’m hitting alot of roughies as well but I’m not too far off the mark.”
When play finished only six players had recorded scores under par as the wind steadily picked up throughout the day. Last year’s qualifier Michael Wright was one of the only players to come in under par in the afternoon shooting a one under 71 while fellow 2009 qualifiers New Zealand’s Josh Geary finished at two over and Victorian Tim Wood was two over the card.
Gunning for his 19th Open appearance, Craig Parry finished the day at three over the card.
A field of 44 players is contesting the 36 holes of International Final Qualifying at Kingston Heath with the top three after the second round earning a place at the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews in July.
Par 72
1 PORTER, Ewan Australia 68.
T2 SENIOR, Peter Australia 69.
T2 TOWNSEND, Aaron Australia 69.
T4 BARNES, Kurt Australia 70.
T4 FELTON, Kim Australia 70.
6 WRIGHT, Michael Australia 71.
T7 JONES, Steve Australia 72.
T7 LAYCOCK, Scott Australia 72.
T7 CURTAIN, Michael Australia 72.
T7 PRESNELL, Alistair Australia 72.
T7 JEFFRESS, Steven Australia 72.
T7 BRANSDON, David Australia 72.
T7 SUMMERS, Anthony Australia 72.
T14 WADE, John Australia 73.
T14 PERSKE, Wayne Australia 73.
T14 CRAWFORD, Adam Australia 73.
T14 BROWN, Anthony Australia 73.
T14 DARTNALL, Steve Australia 73.
T14 BONHOMME, Andrew Australia 73.
T20 NORRIS, Jason Australia 74.
T20 BLAND, Adam Australia 74.
T20 TSCHUDIN, Andrew Australia 74.
T20 GEARY, Josh New Zealand 74.
T20 BROWN, Mitchell Australia 74.
T20 GRIFFIN, Matthew Australia 74.
T20 ALLAN, Steve Australia 74.
T20 HALL, Ashley Australia 74.
T20 REED, Heath Australia 74.
T20 WOOD, Timothy Australia 74.
T30 BOWDITCH, Steven Australia 75.
T30 PARRY, Craig Australia 75.
T30 LEE, Won Joon Australia 75.
T30 PADDISON, Gareth New Zealand 75.
T30 SHEEHAN, Paul Australia 75.
35 GOW, Paul Australia 76.
T36 WILSON, Peter Australia 77.
T36 MARTIN, Andrew Australia 77.
T36 MCCULLOUGH, Brent Australia 77.
39 RICE, Clint Australia 78.
T40 ANDREWS, Brad Australia 79.
T40 BRENNAN, Michael Australia 79.
42 PRICE, Terry Australia 81.
43 EPSTEIN, Henry Australia 82.
44 SCOTT, Craig Australia 85.



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