Riding a hot putter, Australian Shae Wools-Cobb recovered from five days of hay fever and vomiting to shoot 63 for a four-stroke lead on day one of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington.
Wools-Cobb took advantage of overnight rain, little breeze and preferred lies to plunder seven birdies and an eagle on the Royal Wellington layout. His eight-under-par 63 tied the second-lowest score in Asia-Pacific Amateur history.
Playing partner Sean Maruyama – the son of Japanese superstar Shigeki – posted a four-under 67, which was matched by Australian Min Woo Lee and New Zealand’s Nick Voke.
They were joined by Lloyd Jefferson Go from The Philippines, whose 67 was the best of the afternoon starters that encountered swirling, fickle winds at the parkland layout.
With the winner to receive entry to next year’s Masters and British Open, Wools-Cobb made the best possible start in his debut at the Asia-Pacific’s premier amateur tournament.
Starting on the 10th, Wools-Cobb was out in just 29 strokes after sinking a 20-foot putt for an eagle 3 on the 18th. He collected three more birdies to get to nine-under by his 13th hole when thoughts of a 59 crept into his head.
That idea disappeared two holes later when he three-putted the sixth from 30 feet. The 21-year-old from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast parred in to the clubhouse to close out a remarkable round given how sick he felt just days ago.
“I was pretty crook leading up to this. I got really bad hayfever and I had a bit of vomiting … early last week,” Wools-Cobb said.
“Probably carried on for about five days. I still have a really runny nose. I was struggling the last four or five holes. I was just having to keep it down. It just kept running.”
Australia has a great opportunity to win its third Asia-Pacific after five players shot par or better. Joining Wools-Cobb and Lee with sub-par rounds were Harrison Endycott (70) and Travis Smyth (70), while Dylan Perry carded a 71. Charlie Dann (74) was the only Aussie to shoot over par.
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