McCardle moves into contention

Seasoned professional Darren Beck has maintained his lead after an opening round 65 this morning.,

Beck has a one stroke lead over rookie Queensland pro Kade McBride and South Australian Max McCardle who shot the best of the afternoon rounds.

A shot further back are Kiwi Harry Bateman, Peter Cooke (SA) and New South Welshmen Ben Clementson and Steve Jones who carded 67s.

The leaders took advantage of perfect morning conditions while afternoon players had to contend with a stiff breeze which intensified as storm clouds gathered.

McCardle holed a nine metre birdie putt on the 18th to complete a fine opening 66.

“It was tough this afternoon … difficult to get the direction of the wind and the greens were quite firm,’’ he said. “I played a lot of good chips and bunker shots to keep the momentum going.’’

In-form Callan O’Reilly recovered from a two-stroke penalty imposed when he was late to the tee to finish with a two-under 69.

“I was meant to be off at 12.05pm but had it in my head that it was 12.15,’’ he said.

O’Reilly was still on the putting green when tracked down by a rules official and advised that he had been hit with the penalty.

“I was a bit frustrated but played the first hole pretty well,’’ he said. “I bogeyed the third but played well after that and was quite pleased overall.’’

The 2016 runner-up Lucas Herbert shot an even-par 71 while Deyen Lawson carded a 70.

Leading amateurs after the opening round were Naoki Sekito (Qld), Cameron John (Victoria) and Matias Sanchez (Victoria) who shot 69s.

Elvis Smylie, the 15-year old son of former tennis ace Liz Smylie, finished with a two-over 73. The willowy left-hander showed plenty of character to come back after being five-over the card at one stage of his round.

Defending champion Brett Coletta withdrew from the Open this morning after losing his bid to overcome a virus which resulted in him being hospitalised on Tuesday.

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Max McCardle