Harvey Young plays to the 17th today – photo Chris Keane USGA

Australasians are faring well after the opening round of the US Junior Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Club in Bandon in Oregon.

Melbourne’s Harvey Young leads along with Paraguay’s Erich Fortlage, the pair recording opening rounds of 66 to leads the way by one.

Young and Fortlage played the Bandon Trails Course, one of two layouts being used in the 36 hole strokeplay phase of the championship to establish the leading 64 qualifiers to advance to match play.

The day began with bright sunshine and temperatures reaching the low 60s on the Oregon coast. The winds, which are so much a part of the story here, gusted as high as 20 miles per hour before they were replaced by late-afternoon fog that made visibility challenging for the final groups.

“On [hole] 13, the par 5, it started to get bad and then it got worse and worse,” said Young of the fog. “I said to [my caddie] Daniel [Kitayama], it was one of the most enjoyable rounds I’ve had just because I’ve never played in anything like this before.”

This is Young’s first trip to the United States to play golf. He arrived on May 31 and competed in the Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, Ga.; the International Junior Masters in East Aurora, N.Y.; and the Porter Cup in Lewiston, N.Y.; as well as a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier on June 23 at Huntsville Golf Club in Dallas, Pa., where he posted a bogey-free 71 to garner one of the two available spots.

“If I woke up and said, ‘You’d shoot even,’ I’d go back to sleep,” said Young of surpassing his expectations. “So having six [strokes] better than that is pretty good.”

New Zealander Jayden Ford from Wellington was round in 67 to be tied for 5th and two off the lead.

Gold Coast golfer Kai Kumulainen also did well with an opening round of 70 to be tied for 18th.

Their task will be to ensure they are inside the top 64 at the completion of tomorrow’s second round in order to advance to the match play phase of the event.

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