Brett Coletta thought long and hard about turning pro after winning the Queensland Open as an amateur last month before choosing to remain a lilywhite. Three weeks on and the 20-year-old is seeking to do the Queensland/New South Wales Open double after a course-record ten-under 62 on the first day.
Coletta (pictured above) took advantage of benign morning conditions at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club to cover the back nine in seven-under 29 before compiling three more birdies on the more difficult front side. He tied the course records shot by Rohan Blizard and Aaron Wilkin at last year’s NSW Open. It would have been his mark alone had a six-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the 9th, not lipped out.
Coletta leads by a stroke from fellow Victorians Rory Bourke and David Bransdon, who also played in the morning. A quartet of players sits at eight-under after 64s, as the scoring was as warm as the weather. In all, 70 players broke 70 on Thursday including 23 rounds of 66 or lower.
Coletta, who became the first amateur to win the Queensland Open since Stuart Appleby in 1991, can become the first player since Greg Norman during his banner 1986 season to win both state Opens in the same season. Right now, however, he is content merely to have started well in his first tournament since winning at Brisbane Golf Club.
“It was all a blur at the start then all of a sudden I was seven-under after nine holes.” Brett Coletta
“It was all a blur at the start then all of a sudden I was seven-under after nine holes,” Coletta said. “There were some great shots that I hit out there, it was almost flawless golf. I played exactly to my game plan, hit to the spots I wanted to and holed my fair share of putts, which usually equals a good score.”
The tournament drawcard – huge-hitting Canadian Jamie Sadlowski – plunged two balls into the water at the par-4 4th hole en route to a quintuple-bogey nine and a three-over 75.