26 October 2017: Yuvraj Sandhu shot two over 73 in the first round of the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at the Royal Wellington Golf Club. Yashas Chandra and Rayhan Thomas also scored 73 to start the week in T31 – ten strokes off the leader, Australia’s Shae Wools-Cobb.
Priyanshu Singh is in T42 after carding 74, while Sunit Chowrasia and Kshitij Naveed Kaul were a further stroke behind in T59. The top sixty and ties make the cut at the prestigious event, conducted by the Masters Tournament, one of the three founding members.
Sandhu made two birdies on the back nine, but also had two bogeys at the 4th and 9th holes and a double bogey at the 14th hole.
Sandhu is keeping company with Yashas Chandra and Rayhan Thomas. The Dubai resident, Thomas, fired two birdies and conceded four bogeys in the first round.
Yashas Chandra also had a similar return, firing two birdies and four bogeys, just as Thomas.
The 21 year old carded an eight-under-par 63 on Thursday to claim the first-round lead in the ninth Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. The AAC debutant finished four shots ahead of his Japanese playing partner Sean Maruyama – son of three-time PGA Tour winner Shigeki Maruyama.
Australian teammate Min Woo Lee, New Zealand’s Nick Voke and Lloyd Jefferson Go of the Philippines. China’s Andy Zhang and Lin Yuxin each carded 69 to share sixth place with New Zealander Kerry Mountcastle, Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-hsuan and Indonesia’s Almay Rayhan Yagutah.
The day belonged to Wools-Cobb, who flew under the radar as the fifth-ranked Australian in the field before his 63 equalled the second-lowest round in AAC history. The championship rewards the winner with spots in the 2018 Masters Tournament and The 147th Open at Carnoustie.
Starting with three successive birdies from hole 10, Wools-Cobb picked up another at 16 then flew ahead with an eagle at the par-five 18th to tie the championship record for low first nine (29). The Queenslander then extended his lead with birdies on one, three and four before dropping his only shot of the day at the par-four sixth after he narrowly missed the green with his approach.
“I had so much fun out there and it was pretty stress-free. I really enjoyed my day and hopefully I can do much the same in the last three rounds,” Wools-Cobb said. “I holed some pretty good putts on the 10th and 11th and then hit it pretty close on 12, so that was a nice way to kick off the round.”
Maruyama, also making his AAC debut, started with an even-par first nine then collected five birdies and a bogey coming in, but the 17-year-old still felt overshadowed by his playing partner.
“The first nine was pretty tough. I missed a bunch of putts and hit my driver in the woods, but on the back nine I really got it going, my putter got hot and it was a great finish,” said Maruyama, who is in his final year of high school in Los Angeles.
The second round will begin Friday at 8 a.m. off the first and 10th tees at Royal Wellington. Spectators are encouraged to watch the drama unfold and entry is free of charge.
The AAC is organised by three Founding Partners – Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the Masters Tournament and The R&A. This week’s event features 116 players from 38 APGC member associations.