Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman were upstaged by a couple of lesser known Australians on the opening day of the 2017 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.
Adam Bland and Jordan Zunic have stolen some of the limelight from the more well-known golfers on the opening fay of the 2017 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast
Zunic holed a pitch shot for eagle on the par-5 ninth hole to finish his day at 6-under par 66 just moments after Adam Bland got into the clubhouse on the same number after a bogey on his final hole the par-4 18th.
After the round, Zunic credited former Australian PGA Championship winner Nick O’Hern for his great opening round.
After reading O’Hern’s book “Tour Mentality”, Zunic played a practice round with O’Hern on Tuesday and found himself being mentored by one of Australia’s great golfers.
“I would have to probably put it down to not long ago I read a book by Nick O’Hern, Tour Mentality, and my girlfriend Olivia put me on to it, who’s caddying for me,” Zunic said.
“He got back in touch with me, and then fortunately this week I managed to have a practice round with him on Tuesday. So Nick actually came around with me and his wrist was a little sore so he didn’t really play at all, he just had a bit of putting on a few greens. Next thing you know, I’m having like an 18-hole mentor playing lesson with Nick O’Hern.”
Marc Leishman, Sergio Garcia, Daniel Nisbet and the ageless Peter Senior are just a shot behind Bland and Zunic on 5-under par.
Senior left his birdie putt on the 18th hole hanging on the edge of the hole that left the crowd in disbelief.
Just two days after winning the Greg Norman Medal for the best Australian male golfer in 2017, Leishman looked in good form around the challenging Royal Pines layout.
“Game’s in a good spot, putter feels good, so hopefully can get out early with no wind and have a low one,” Leishman said.
Earlier in the day Sergio Garcia posted a bogey-free 5-under par in the wet early morning conditions after teeing off at the ungodly hour of 6:10am.
Garcia is finishing his year in Australia and while he admitted his focus isn’t as good as it was a few months ago, the Masters champion was pleased with his round despite not seeing the golf course until Wednesday’s pro-am.
“Mentally I’m not quite as sharp as I was probably a month ago or so,” Garcia said. “I guess the year is kind of draining a little bit, but it was nice to play with Scotty and with Wade, we had a great time. Other than a couple of times where it poured down on us, it was a fun day.”
Garcia also admitted it was the earliest he has ever teed off in a round of golf that is partly due to Queensland not moving to daylight savings time during the summer months in Australia.
“I think probably the earliest I’ve teed off I want to say it’s 6:50, maybe 7:00. So that was interesting,” Garcia said. “I want to say it was the closest I’ve had a dinner and a breakfast ever.”
“I woke up at 4:00 this morning, had a bit of breakfast. Actually, had a shower, got dressed, had a nice breakfast, tried to make sure I didn’t wake up my wife, and then I got to the putting green probably just after 5:00, probably like 10 past 5:00.”