Tighe back on top at Queensland PGA – PGA of Australia

Tighe was the only player to navigate Nudgee Golf Club’s Kurrai Course bogey-free on Thursday, his morning round of five-under 67 matched in the afternoon by South Australian PGA Associate Jak Carter and New Zealand’s Nick Voke.

Starting from the 10th tee, Tighe made his first birdie at the par-4 14th and then hit a pitching wedge to six feet at the par-3 18th, converting that chance to turn in two-under.

He made birdies at the back-to-back par 5s at four and five and then closed out his round with a gap wedge into nine and a fifth birdie from just outside six feet.

Tighe bogeyed the 72nd hole and lost to Andrew Martin on the fifth playoff hole at last week’s Victorian PGA Championship at Moonah Links but a word with his wife and a debrief with mental coach Ben Roberts set him up to start fast in his first round back.

“We just talked about riding the form and letting it go,” said Tighe, who has also returned to swing coach Warwick Dews.

“I said to my missus on the phone, if you would have told me I was going to come second at the beginning of the week I would have taken it.

“To be there on Sunday and have those sort of feelings, they’re good things.

“It’s a new week. My preparation for this week was probably not as in-depth as normal, but I found I was a bit wrecked mentally and physically after last week.

“I just took it easy, did nine-hole practice round Tuesday, nine-hole Wednesday and a few of my drills that I make sure I do every week.”

Renowned as one of the longest hitters on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, Tighe credited a somewhat conservative approach with his blemish-free round, an approach he intends to carry forward into the coming rounds.

“I tried to play pretty smart around here and it worked quite well today,” said the NSW South Coast native.

“I think I’ll stick to that. You’ve got to know when to go and when not.”

Winner of both the South Australian and NSW Associate championships earlier this year, Carter has already shown an ability to step up in tour events.

He was tied for 23rd at the WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie and had seven birdies and a double-bogey six after finding the water on 13 to earn a share of the lead.

“It is nice to shoot this score at this level. That is something I’ll be building from and take into the next day and see what happens,” said Carter.

“The game hadn’t been feeling that good there for a little while. Probably at Moonah – after the first round last week – I really felt my game was starting to come together, I just wasn’t seeing the ball roll in the hole. It was just nice to get that today and hole a couple.”

Voke, too, rode a hot putter to also post 67.

A par save from seven feet at nine saw him turn in two-under before unleashing a four-hole birdie blitz from 10 to rocket up the leaderboard.

That run came to an end with a bogey at 14 to join the three-way tie at the top.

“I holed a really good seven-footer for par on the ninth. That momentum definitely stayed with me,” said Voke, who failed to keep his card on the Korn Ferry Tour this year.

“Then I just hit a really good one to a foot on 10, hit it to five feet on the next one, holed a 10-footer and then made a bomb (on 13).

“The game’s really close. I missed a lot of cuts (on the Korn Ferry Tour) by one to three shots but I knew that I’ve been playing well and if a few things work my way we can be dangerous.

“Hopefully the next three days can do something like that.”

Queenslander Jake McLeod shrugged off bone stress in two ribs and a labral tear in his left hip to be one of four players in a share of the fourth one shot off the lead, Andrew Evans, Zinyo Garcia and Nathan Barbieri also posting four-under 68.

Nudgee’s own Scott Hend looked like joining the logjam at the top of the leaderboard but faded late in his round.

Bogey-free and four-under through 12 holes, Hend dropped shots at 13, 16 and 17 to fall to a tie for 20th at one-under 71.

Round 1 scores

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