photo: Josh Younger Golf NSW
35-year old Victorian, Josh Younger, played in the more difficult afternoon field on day one of the AV Jennings NSW Open at the Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club west of Sydney but that did not stop him from producing a stunning opening round of 9 under par 63 to lead by one.
Younger, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour of Australasia, began his round at the 10th and birdies seven of his first eight holes to make the turn in 29 and, although the momentum slowed somewhat after making the turn, he had established the base for a round which would eventually give him the lead over the exciting Perth golfer, Minwoo Lee, and Justin Warren of Picton in NSW.
Younger’s previous best on the PGA Tour of Australasia was when runner-up to Nick Cullen at the 2014 Australian Masters but importantly for his ongoing chances this week, he finished 3rd in this event last year and although 2019 has been a struggle for him recent work with a mental coach appears to have made a difference.
“I started off on the back-nine and made six straight and then just tried to keep out of my own way from there on in,” said Younger.
“People won’t believe me but the back-nine was tough. We came through the turn and the wind got up and that front-nine played quite difficult. I had a good start and was able to stay patient and let things happen. I picked up a couple more coming in and saved a couple of pars.”
Lee is just completing his first year as a professional, a year which saw him narrowly miss his full status on the European Tour for 2020 but he will have enough to secure plenty of starts.
Lee is joined in second place by 24 year old Warren, who completed his education at the University of Arkansas in the US in the middle of this year, but he had gained access to the PGA Tour of Australasia at the Tour School late in 2018.
Dimi Papadatos, Travis Smyth and local amateur Nathan Barbieri are tied for 4th at 7 under par and two from the lead.
Despite the breezy afternoon conditions, 64 players broke par on the Graham Marsh designed layout.