09 Feb 2021 | National Championships |

Walker sprints to the top

by Mark Hayes

Toby Walker fires his way to an entertaining 66 at Kooyonga. Picture: DAVID BRAND
Toby Walker fires his way to an entertaining 66 at Kooyonga. Picture: DAVID BRAND

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Toby Walker wasn’t surprised, he’s done this sort of thing before.

But as the giant Victorian carved his way to an imperious 66 at Kooyonga today, his name was something of a shock at the top of the Australian Amateur Championship men’s leaderboard.

Walker, in his fourth tilt at the national crown, carded eight birdies and two bogeys in an extremely entertaining round that was good enough for a one-shot lead over highly rated Jack Thompson on his home soil and a smorgasbord of contenders within two more strokes.

But the day belonged to Walker, who said afterwards that eight birdies in a round wasn’t a personal best and then said his mates back in Melbourne wouldn’t be shocked at all.

“They’d just say why don’t you do it more often,” the jovial Walker joked.

“I was happy with the way it went today, but gave a couple back and even had a couple of eagle putts sit pretty close, too, so …

“But obviously the thing to do here is to back it up the next few days, so hopefully I can do that.”

Thompson, a member at The Grange nearby, appeared in cruise control for most of his round and also had several birdie putts go tantalisingly close yet remain up.

His round was the highlight of a great day for the South Australian contingent on home soil with Royal Adelaide’s Billy Cawthorne carding a late 69 to share fourth and home-club hero Frank Vucic among a host of players on 70 and a share of 11th.

Most of the fancied men are within touching distance of the leaderboard, although defending champion Jed Morgan (76) and mercurial New South Welshman Jordy Garner (77) are among those who will need to go hard tomorrow to make the cut.

Queensland pair Louis Dobbelaar and Lawry Flynn are among the group at three under, including impressive Tasmanian Joey Bower and West Australian pair Tom Addy and Haydn Barron, who looked ultra impressive without much luck on the greens.

LEADERBOARD

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