Amateur Ryan Peake is one of the shock leaders after the opening round of the Nexus Risk WA Open at Royal Fremantle Golf Club.
Veteran Scott Strange appeared set to lead through 18 holes when he got to 2-under late in his round but dropped shots at the seventh and eighth holes – his 16th and 17th – saw him fall to even par. Brody Martin too also reached 2-under in tricky scoring conditions at the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament, but also made a late mistake to drop to a share of the lead with five others at 1-under.
One of those six players tied for the lead is 27-year-old Ryan Peake, who has recently rekindled his love affair with the game of golf with a view to rejoining the professional ranks.
Tied for 60th at the 2010 Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney at just 17 years of age, Peake turned professional prior to the 2012 WA Open but quit golf before playing another tournament.
Earlier this year he qualified for the final 16 of the Australian Amateur Championship at Royal Queensland before falling 1-down to star amateur Elvis Smylie and last week was tied for 20th at the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship.
A two-time winner of the Aglime Sand Greens Championship of WA – “The greens this week are definitely a little bit quicker than those things” – Peake said he was surprised that his score of 1-under 71 was good enough to earn a share of the lead.
“I wasn’t really lighting it up or anything but I felt all right,” Peake said.
“I hit three balls off 18 because I thought they were out of bounds but I ended up finding my first ball and made par to turn square.
“On the back nine I continued to hit the ball well and gave myself lots of opportunities to make a few birdies but I made a few bogeys out of nowhere as well.
“I didn’t think it was that hard out there but obviously looking at the scores everyone is finding it a bit tricky.
“Maybe I need to give myself a little more credit. Maybe it was pretty tough out there and I played better than I thought.”
Goss was just as surprised as Peake at his lofty position at his home club.
The winner of the WA Open as an amateur in 2012, Goss walked away from professional golf at the end of 2018 to pursue coaching.
Now the Junior Development Manager at Royal Fremantle, Goss watched two of his academy members hit ceremonial tee shots before going out and recording the equal best score of the day.
“The course is definitely tough. It’s firm, it’s fast, it’s very difficult but I still thought someone would break away and shoot 3 or 4-under and it just hasn’t happened,” said Goss, who recovered after an early double bogey to notch three birdies over the following 14 holes to shoot 71.
“It’s anyone’s game at this point.
“I play about once a month in the club comp and that’s about it.
“I just wanted to go out and enjoy it and not put any pressure on myself to play well.
“I just want to go out there and play golf and enjoy the course while it’s in absolutely amazing condition.”
Joining Peake, Goss and Martin at the top of the leaderboard heading into day two on Saturday are amateurs Haydn Barron and Joshua Greer along with Ben Ferguson, five players sitting just one shot further back.
A double bogey to start from the 10th tee put tournament favourite Jarryd Felton on the back foot as he opened with a 3-over 75 while three consecutive birdies late rescued Brett Rumford’s round as he finished at 1-over 73 and tied for 12th.
71: Ryan Peake (a), Haydn Barron (a), Joshua Greer (a), Oliver Goss, Brody Martin, Ben Ferguson
72: Scott Strange, Scott Barr, Hayden Hopewell (a), Tom Addy (a), Marty Van Eldik (a)
73: Connor Fewkes (a), Rick Kulacz, Adam Brady (a), Glenn Paul, Brett Rumford, Jordan Jung (a)