Five birdies on the trot from his opening hole propelled New South Welshman Jay Mackenzie to a two-stroke win at the Gorilla Ladders Box Hill Golf Club Pro-Am.
The penultimate event of the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series, the Box Hill Pro-Am drew former touring pro and now media personality Mark Allen out for a rare start but no one could keep pace with Mackenzie.
An electrical storm in the morning forced the start of play to be pushed back two hours, Mackenzie in the afternoon groups who raced the sun to the clubhouse to complete their rounds.
Rather than forcing him into error, Mackenzie credited the increased speed of play for his round of 61 and two-shot win.
“Finishing in the dark, you’re trying to finish pretty quickly, which is sometimes good,” said Mackenzie, who spent the morning watching the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on TV.
“It helps me because I like playing a bit quicker.”
Due to safety reasons the par-5 18th was reduced to a 135-metre par 3, reducing the Box Hill Golf Club par to 69 for the day.
After his blistering start from the 12th tee, Mackenzie added three further birdies on the front nine and a ninth for the day on the par-4 10th to finish two clear of Austin Bautista (63).
David Tapping, Simon Hawkes and Kit Bittle all finished in a share of third with rounds of 64 as Mackenzie made the most of his Box Hill debut.
“First time at Box Hill, I like it,” said the champion.
“It’s not too long, which is nice. Just got to hit it straight and hole some putts which seems to be what I do.
“I had a really good start; I don’t know how. I had five birdies in a row, just hit them all pretty close and holed a couple of putts.”
The 2022-2023 adidas PGA Pro-Am Series concludes with the $50,000 Eynesbury Masters in partnership with Tasman Logistics Services starting Saturday.
The field boasts a host of ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament winners along with 2006 Australian PGA champion Nick O’Hern.