Just one stroke separated the top-11 finishers as four players shared top spot at the Stuart Appleby Cohuna Pro-Am at Cohuna Golf Club.
The Murray River swing of the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series continued in Cohuna with one of the tightest leaderboards in recent memory.
James Gordon’s 3-under 69 was the best of the morning wave but the best scores would come later in the afternoon, despite a change in the weather on the back nine.
PNG Open champion Lachlan Barker burst out of the blocks to be 5-under through eight holes but ultimately had to hold on for a round of 4-under 68 and tie Ryan Peake, Anthony Choat and Ryan Lynch for top honours.
Gordon was one of seven players to finish just one shot back at 3-under, Barker thankful for the early birdies and a final one at his penultimate hole to secure a share of victory.
“A very hot start, that’s how I’d describe it,” Barker said of his round.
“Early on the putter was very warm. I was 5-under through eight holes and the conditions were really good to start.
“After that the afternoon groups had to put on their wet weather gear and battle it out on the back nine.
“I dropped a couple of shots but really hung on and made one late birdie to end up shooting 4-under 68.”
While the putter took the plaudits for the early run of birdies, Barker said that his shot selection from the tee was integral in providing the opportunities for the putter to run hot.
“You had to have a good strategy so I used anywhere from 4-iron right through to driver. Made the right club choices on a lot of occasions and gave myself looks at birdies and was able to convert.
“I attribute my score to the putter and the tee shots.”
Like Barker, Peake and Choat both had six birdies and two bogeys in their rounds of 4-under while Lynch dropped just the one shot to also end the day on top.
Last year’s Cohuna Pro-Am was also disrupted due to rain, Barker praising the presentation of the course on his second visit to Cohuna.
“The course was in the best condition that I’ve seen it and from all reports, from the people who have been coming here for years and years, this is the best it’s been,” said Barker.
“That back nine was a struggle. The weather really packed it in so it was a tale of two nines today.”
The adidas PGA Pro-Am Series moves further along the Murray River for the 66th Border Open Pro-Am at cluBarham Golf and Sports Club starting Saturday.