IN THE HUNT: Boo Weekley on the 15th hole at Royal Pines on Thursday. Picture: Getty Images
THERE will be a few nervous deer in the south of the United States given Boo Weekley is heading home soon.
It seems the field at the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast should also be worried about being outgunned by the American.
The keen huntsman and three-time US PGA Tour winner tops the leaderboard following a rain-affected opening round at Royal Pines on Thursday.
Weekley’s six-under-par 66 ensured he will take a two-shot lead into Friday, ahead of a group of six players on four-under, including defending champion Adam Scott.
The American’s month-long stay in Australia has included equal 15th place finishes at the Australian Masters and Australian Open and, famously, an estimated 40 meat pies.
The 41-year-old tucked into the revamped Royal Pines course like one of those savoury treats, making five birdies, a bogey and an eagle on the par-four 17th.
That eagle was the highlight of his day.
‘‘I had 146 [yards] into the hole, was kind of in between clubs and I just figured I had a breeze a little bit into us … took an eight-iron and choked it down a little bit,’’ he said.
‘‘As soon as I got up in the air, got flying towards it and I like ‘get right, be right’ and then one hop and it went in the hole.’’
Weekley is planning to ditch the clubs for his rifle when he gets home next week.
Landing a trophy buck will be on his Christmas wish-list, though having the Joe Kirkwood Cup on his mantelpiece would also be a welcome addition.
Scott also made eagle on Thursday, at the par-five 15th, and was happy to notch the first under-par first round of his Australian swing.
● Toronto’s Nathan Green was one of the lucky few to complete his first round.
After bogeying two of his first three holes, the former US PGA card-holder completed a steady of round of six birdies and just one more bogey on the back nine to finish with three-under 69.
Jake Higginbottom’s round of six birdies was marred by double bogeys on the seventh and 14th and another dropped shot on the 10th, which left the Charlestown product at one-under.
It was a miserable start for Charlestown’s US-based professional James Nitties, who was left on two-over after a storm halted play.
The other Hunter golfer to complete the first round was Belmont’s Corey Hale at one-over.
The Vintage’s Edward Stedman is two-under through six holes, Charlestown’s Aaron Townsend is even par after 12, Waratah’s Leigh McKechnie (one-over) has nine holes to play on Friday and Toronto’s Callan O’Reilly is one over with 10 holes left.