Defending champion Brett Rumford continued his love affair with Lake Karrinyup Country Club as he carded an opening 64 on day one of the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.
The Perth native dominated proceedings in the inaugural event last season, leading for all three days of stroke play before taking the title after the Super 6 match play format on Sunday.
A stunning opening nine of 29 helped him threaten to do so again, the six-time European Tour winner made just two pars in his first nine holes with birdies on the tenth, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th – courtesy of a monster putt – to lead by three. And while he dropped two shots after the turn, he bounced back to get to eight under and lead by two from playing partner Lee Westwood and Australian James Nitties.
Westwood was doing his best to keep pace and the Englishman made an eagle on the 15th thanks to a spectacular chip-in to go with birdies on the 11th and 12th. The former World Number One was delighted to continue his upward curve after firing a second round of 62 last week in Malaysia to finish tied 11th.
He is in contention once again at Lake Karrinyup Country Club where the top 24 players after 54 holes will advance to the match play knockout stages, with the top eight players seeded.
Australian’s Wade Ormsby, Jason Scrivener and Gareth Paddison were then at five under alongside Frenchman Sébastien Gros, Malaysian Nicholas Fung, Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka, Korea’s Yi-keun Chang, and Thai duo Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prom Meesawat.
South African Zander Lombard made the second albatross of the season when he holed a two iron from 210 yards on the 15th en route to an opening round of 68.
Brett Rumford:“Got off to another fast start. I think Beef threw the first punch with a two at the first, our tenth hole, of course. I guess we just fed off each other from there. Lee was playing great golf, steady like he normally does, and the greens were rolling nicely so if you got the ball on line rolling, if you got it to the hole, there’s no deviation to the greens.
“You’ve just got to get it in play, just keep it steady and just really be patient around here because there’s lots of birdies, lots of wedges, par fives that are birdieable.
“Obviously just slipped up on one and three, which is our back nine. Outside of that, again, just had to tell myself that I’m playing good golf and just stay patient with it, plenty of birdies coming in. So that’s kind of fortunately enough a few putts went in and got myself back on a pretty decent round of golf.
“I just think there’s some golf courses just fit your eye, just suit your eye and others don’t. It’s not always the case, but generally you find as a trend that a lot of players go back and play well when they’ve had a lot of good performances there, and this is one of them.
“I’m leading, I’m inside the top 24 and that’s my only focus this week is finish inside that number whether I lead the qualifying again, that would be a nice bonus but it’s not my priority this week and I’m playing accordingly, too.”
Lee Westwood: “The swing’s just getting better all the time. It’s just unfortunate I’ve got a long period of time off after this through different circumstances and I should be working on the game and my fitness over the few weeks after this tournament.
“I played very nicely, very solidly. Hit a lot of good shots, drove the ball well, putted nicely as well without anything really going in for me. I chipped in on 15 for eagle but other than that, everything was pretty close range.
“There was a bit of breeze up but if you hit the ball well, then it’s very scoreable. The golf course is in great condition. If you start putts on line, they tend to go in.
“It was nice to shoot 66. I don’t think this is a tournament where you want to be playing catch-up, really. You want to get yourself in the mix and try and cruise through the second and third days and get into that top 24.”
First round scores
64 B Rumford (Aus) ,
66 J Nitties (Aus) , L Westwood (Eng) ,
67 G Paddison (Nzl) , N Fung (Mas) , S Gros (Fra) , D Kataoka (Jpn) , Y Chang (Kor) , J Scrivener (Aus) , P Meesawat (Tha) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , W Ormsby (Aus) ,
68 M Fraser (Aus) , L Herbert (Aus) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , S Han (USA) , D Lipsky (USA) , J Janewattananond (Tha) , S Horsfield (Eng) , Z Lombard (RSA) ,
69 D Papadatos (Aus) , R Green (Aus) , G Forrest (Sco) , D Fox (Aus) , B Kennedy (Aus) , J Felton (Aus) , A Connelly (Can) , M Brown (Nzl) , C Ford (Eng) , S Leaney (Aus) , T Macdonald (Aus) , M Lee (am) (Aus) ,
70 N Srithong (Tha) , S Crocker (USA) , R Fox (Nzl) , C Koepka (USA) , R Evans (Eng) , T Olesen (Den) , Y Miyazato (Jpn) , S Kodaira (Jpn) , M Griffin (Aus) , P Tangkamolprasert (Tha) ,
71 A Da Silva (Bra) , A Rai (Eng) , G Bhullar (Ind) , B Neil (Sco) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , M Schwab (Aut) , P Saksansin (Tha) , M Hendry (Nzl) , D Beck (Aus) , A Dodt (Aus) , A Quayle (Aus) , D Bransdon (Aus) , J Edfors (Swe) , S Jeffress (Aus) , T Pilkadaris (Aus) , T Murray (Eng) , L Gagli (Ita) , D Lawson (Aus) , J Dantorp (Swe) , M Nixon (Eng) , C Mivis (Bel) , P Angles (Esp) , M Foster (Eng) , S Yongcharoenchai (Tha) , T Kaewsiribandit (Tha) ,
72 L Canter (Eng) , J Veerman (USA) , N Cullen (Aus) , J Colomo (Esp) , A Vongvanij (Tha) , J Kruger (RSA) , C O’Reilly (Aus) , D Jordan (Aus) , P Lonard (Aus) , S Brown (Eng) , S Fernandez (Esp) , B Eccles (Aus) , T Sinnott (Aus) , R Wannasrichan (Tha) , R Allenby (Aus) , J Girrbach (Sui) , J Zunic (Aus) , J McLeod (Aus) , A Price (Aus) , M Guyatt (Aus) ,
73 R Cho (Kor) , A Pavan (Ita) , J Todd (USA) , N Geyger (Chi) , A Johnston (Eng) , T Lewis (Eng) , A Bland (Aus) , A Blyth (Aus) , M Millar (Aus) , D Boonma (Tha) , C Bezuidenhout (RSA) , P Wilson (Aus) , A Saddier (Fra) , C Crawford (Aus) , P Widegren (Swe) , R McEvoy (Eng) , D Nisbet (Aus) , G Moynihan (Irl) , J Wilson (Aus) , F Aguilar (Chi) , B Coletta (Aus) , G Stal (Fra) , A Cañizares (Esp) , J Marchesani (Aus) , A Sandhu (Ind) , B Campbell (Nzl) , S Vincent (Zim) , D Brandt-Richards (Aus) ,
74 B Henson (USA) , J Guerrier (Fra) , M Baldwin (Eng) , G Porteous (Eng) , V Perez (Fra) , J Norris (Aus) , J Higginbottom (Aus) , H Tanihara (Jpn) , D Stewart (Sco) , J Geary (Nzl) , P Peterson (USA) , P Fowler (Aus) , J Younger (Aus) , M Armitage (Eng) ,
75 A Townsend (Aus) , S Hawkes (Aus) , J Thomson (Eng) , N Kimsey (Eng) , D Pearce (Nzl) , B Evans (Eng) , S Heisele (Ger) , A Knappe (Ger) , C Blomstrand (Swe) , A Meronk (Pol) , S Kapur (Ind) ,
76 D Willett (Eng) , N O’Hern (Aus) , M Stieger (Aus) , C Syme (Sco) , P O’Malley (Aus) ,
77 M Schneider (Ger) , B Leong (Mas) , D Smail (Nzl) ,
79 M Long (Nzl) , N Holman (Aus) , J Heath (Eng) , S Yates (Sco) , B Rankin (Aus) ,
80 T Smyth (Aus) , S Rahman (Ban) ,
81 L Yanwei (Chn) ,