Thursday, February 07, 2019

Nitties is Wizard of Oz with nine successive birdies in Vic Open

Australian James Nitties made nine successive birdies in the opening round of his home Vic Open in Barwon Heads on Thursday, matching Mark Calcavecchia's 10-year-old record.
Starting from the 10th hole at 13th Beach Golf Links, Melbourne man Nitties made his remarkable run from the par-four 15th through to the par-five fifth at the European Tour co-sanctioned event.
The 36-year-old's streak set a European Tour record while equalling former Open winner Calcavecchia's U.S. PGA Tour mark, set in the second round of the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey in 2009.
A par on the par-four sixth ended his bid to move past Calcavecchia but the Australian had few regrets.
"I don't hold any other world records that I know of so to be a part of one is pretty cool," Nitties said after carding an eight-under-par 64 to stand in a share of second two strokes behind leader Nick Flanagan.
"I had a good chance for that 10th birdie but I didn't want to break it.
"It's such a long-standing record and I wouldn't do that to Mark ... It's good to hold it with him."
Austria's Bernd Wiesberger roled in nine successive birdies at the 2017 Maybank Championship in Malaysia, a European Tour co-sanctioned event, but his haul was not officially recognised as a record because the round was played with preferred lies.
Nitties' blitz was the highlight of a day of low scoring, with his house-mate Flanagan, who won the U.S. Amateur championship in 2003, roaring home with three birdies and his second eagle on the par-five seventh in his last five holes.
Flanagan finished with a 10-under 62 to finish two shots ahead of a group of six players tied for second on eight-under, including Nitties, American Kurt Kitayama, Chile's Hugo Leon and late-finishing local Jason Scrivener.
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts was two further adrift in a group tied for 14th on six-under after shooting a 66.
The Vic Open is also the second stop on the LPGA circuit, with the 36-hole 13th Beach links running both the men's and women's events concurrently.
England's Felicity Johnson carded a flawless eight-under 65 for a two-shot lead over the second-placed trio of Canadian Anne-Catherine Tanguay, American Kim Kaufman and local hope Su Oh.





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