Southland amateur Vaughan McCall overcame early nerves to card an impressive opening round at the New Zealand Open yesterday, then gave rave reviews about Millbrook Resort.
McCall, the former New Zealand No 1 who is now fifth in the amateur standings, signed for a three- under-par 69 in yesterday's opening round after a shaky start, and is the leading amateur by three shots from compatriot Cameron Jones.
McCall is tied for 17th overall, three shots behind the lead held by Australian professionals Andrew Dodt, Terry Pilkadaris, Jake Stirling and Scott Strange.
Teeing off on the 10th at Millbrook, McCall had to settle for par at the first two par-fives he played while dropping a shot at the par- four 13th.
He was one-over through six holes but then rattled off four birdies in six holes, including three in succession from holes 10-12.
"It's a great way to start off the national open," McCall said.
"I was pretty nervous and starting off those first three or four holes, I hit some errant drives and shots that cost me a couple.
"But I did really well to pull it back together. I backed my form, because I am playing well, and pulled some birdies back. I just couldn't quite capitalise in the final few holes."
McCall said the new back nine at Millbrook was superb. "I think that back nine is just so cool, I love what [course designer Greg Turner] has done with it. I got to the turn and was just fizzing about playing that back nine.
"I hope I can just get into the same rhythm at The Hills [today] as I had on the back nine."
McCall described himself as a "nervous golfer" but he was starting to feel more comfortable among the pros and is relishing the prospect of taking on The Hills today.
- The Southland Times