The greens were soft and skies unexpectedly dry, yet the host club somehow managed to defend itself on day one of the Queanbeyan Open on Thursday.
James Grierson and Jordan Zunic share the lead at four-under after each threatened to go lower, with a host of legitimate contenders still within reach.
Hometown hero Matt Millar and in-form Sydneysider Andrew Evans are both one shot adrift and will form a bumper final foursome with the finale to be played in fourballs to avoid expected bad weather on Friday.
Hot on their heels are defending champion Deyen Lawson, Sandbelt Invitational winner Brady Watt, Nathan Barbieri, Alexander Simpson and amateur Andre Lautee, all just two shots off the lead at two-under.
Grierson, 29, came from the “unseeded” side of the morning draw, but started in blazing style with birdies on the ninth, 10th and 13th.
When the Forbes product turned and birdied the second and third holes, he threatened to blow the field away but fell back to four-under with a bogey on the testing par-three sixth.
“I’m pretty happy with that,” Grierson surmised post-round. “I’ve been here before and haven’t scored well.
“It was nice feeling to have done a few days with (coach) John Serhan and (renowned biomechanist) Ryan Lumsden and then to come out and see almost immediate improvement.
“I holed a couple of decent putts on the first two holes (ninth and 10th) and then all of a sudden you’re away.
“I’ve been working on lowering my expectations, but making my standards higher,” added Grierson, who said playing with popular club pro Jake Nagle and local amateur Matt Doyle had helped him stay at ease with a few laughs during their round.
“It’s really good to just enjoy your golf like that… it plays out well for me.”
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