20 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |

John joins log-jam at top of Queensland PGA

by PGA of Australia

Cameron John in action at Nudgee.

By Tony Webeck

Victorian Cameron John has turned a top-10 at the Australian PGA into a share of the lead on day one of the Queensland PGA Championship at Nudgee Golf Club in Brisbane.

Wildly fluctuating weather conditions made scoring challenging throughout the day but it was a dryer afternoon that delivered the best scores in the opening round.

John, Anthony Quayle and Daniel Gale all shot six-under 66 on Thursday afternoon to sit two strokes clear of the field and will likely have the better of the conditions when they commence their second rounds on Friday morning.

David Micheluzzi’s four-under 68 was the best of the morning wave and he was joined on that score by Jake McLeod with six players sharing sixth position following rounds of three-under 69.

Originally slated for pre-qualifying on Monday, John’s top-10 at Royal Queensland earned him a direct place into the tournament field and the chance to refresh before going again.

“When I finished on Sunday I looked at the leaderboard and I was like, Thank god, top 10,” said John, who chipped in on his final hole, the par-4 ninth, to join Quayle and Gale at six-under.

“Then James from the PGA told me that I’d definitely be in so that was a good way to finish the week.

“A few of the guys were pretty happy Sunday night so we went out and just relaxed and had Monday off and I thought that was a good way to freshen up.

“Last week was a long, tough week but having that day off meant that I could breathe a little bit again and I could start fresh so it definitely helped.”

Quayle also made a late surge up the leaderboard to sit at the top through the first round.

After making the turn at three-under Quayle saw birdie chances slip by at 10 and 12 but picked up shots at 13, 17 and the par-3 18th to complete a bogey-free 66.

“If anything the past year one of my worst habits was not finishing as well as I was at some point in the round,” said Quayle, who was tied for sixth at Royal Queensland a week ago.

“I even did that to an extent last week at RQ so it was nice to finish strong and shoot the best score I was all day.”

‘Tricky’ was the word often used by players to describe the challenge presented by Nudgee’s Kurrai Course, Quayle admitting that curbing his aggressive nature was paramount in keeping a clean card.

“There were certain times today where I wanted to go for par 5s in two – and I did on a couple – but the other two I had to pull myself back because I know I can get myself into a fair bit of trouble around the greens,” said Quayle.

“You’re better off having a full shot from a controlled lie and controlled situation where you can at least allow for 10-15 metres of run.

“I like to play pretty aggressive and I probably had to rein that in at times.”

Like his fellow front-runners New South Welshman Daniel Gale is riding the momentum of a strong week at Royal Queensland.

Tied for 12th last week, Gale has victories already this season at the Blitz Golf event at Howlong and the Western Open in Dubbo and is on familiar ground having spent much of last year in Queensland playing the pro-am circuit.

“I spent all of the NSW lockdown up here so this is kind of my adopted home,” said Gale, who also birdied 17 and 18 to make the turn at two-under.

“Howlong was a good confidence booster and then won the Western Open at Dubbo and that was big. Howlong was a bit of a shootout but Dubbo you’ve got to beat the field for the entire event.

“That was a massive confidence booster and then playing well last week was great with all the crowds.

“The atmosphere last week was awesome so hopefully just keep it rolling in this good run of events we’ve got coming up.”

Round 2 of the Queensland PGA commences at 6.15am AEST on Friday and entry is free for spectators.

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