Putter switch pays off for Micheluzzi at Queensland PGA - PGA of Australia

Putter switch pays off for Micheluzzi at Queensland PGA

The decision to switch putters over the Christmas break is paying big dividends for Victorian David Micheluzzi as he took a one-stroke lead early on day one of the Queensland PGA Championship in Brisbane.

The new Kurrai Course at Nudgee Golf Club along with intermittent rain throughout the morning kept the scoring largely in check, Micheluzzi’s bogey-free four-under 68 the pick of the early groups.

West Australian amateur Josh Greer (69) and veteran Matt Millar (69) got to five-under during their rounds before dropping shots late, finishing level in a share of second with Sydney’s John Lyras at three-under.

Coming off a confidence-building tie for ninth at last week’s Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Micheluzzi needed just 26 putts on Thursday with a Scotty Cameron Phantom X picked specifically for the course conditions.

Normally a proponent of a blade putter on the firm Melbourne greens that can run as quick as 13 on the Stimpmeter, Micheluzzi opted for the extra stability of the mallet-style for the Queensland swing and it delivered the goods in his opening round.

“I just holed a lot of putts which was nice because I haven’t been rolling it that great leading up to last week,” said Micheluzzi, who holed a birdie putt from almost 30 feet on the par-3 eighth.

“I rolled it really good today, I think it’s the Queensland greens, I just like them.

“I holed a lot of footage of putts today which was quite nice.”

Overnight rain made the Nudgee greens somewhat more receptive on Thursday, the rain that at times fell heavily during the morning making it hard to stay in rhythm.

While he expects his early mark to be overtaken by day’s end, Micheluzzi was enjoying seeing his name at the top through his first 18 holes.

“We had to wait on 18 for a bit because you couldn’t actually get out there and hit the shot so very stoked with four-under with the way I hit it,” he added.

“You’ve just got to manage yourself really well around the course and I feel like I did that today.

“It’s out there. The greens are rolling perfect so you’re going to hole some putts. I’m shocked a little bit but at the same time it was hosing down out there.

“I’m pretty stoked actually to be up on top at the moment but I don’t know how long it will last.”

Fourth at last week’s Master of the Amateurs in Melbourne, Greer reached five-under on the back of birdies at 14 and 16 until a wayward tee shot at the par-5 17th cost him the outright lead.

He made par at the par-3 18th for a round of three-under and intends to continue his aggressive approach into Friday’s second round.

“If you’d asked me what I would want to shoot before I teed it up I would have taken three-under. I played pretty solid,” said Greer, who unsuccessfully tried to play out of the hazard on 17.

“At the start of the day I said to try and go for everything and try and make as many birdies as I could.

“I knew I was going to have a few bad holes so that’s all right.”

It was a positive start too for John Lyras who struggled last week at Royal Queensland following the passing of his grandmother, Dimitra.

Lyras missed the cut with rounds of 74-75, his heavy heart making it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

“My grandmother passed away the beginning of PGA week and that presented its own challenge,” said Lyras, who birdied 17 and 18 to close out his round of 69 on Thursday.

“It made last week very difficult. I wasn’t ready to play golf and hadn’t had a great preparation and unfortunately preparation is everything.

“You need to go into a tournament feeling good physically and mentally about your game and about yourself and I wasn’t last week.

“I feel a lot better this week so hopefully I can enjoy it a little more than last week.

“She was very special to me and my mother. She never got to come and watch me play golf unfortunately so hopefully I can do myself proud this week and do her proud.”

Six players in the afternoon wave are one-under on their rounds with Australian PGA champion Jed Morgan one-over through two holes.

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