Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston nearly walked off the course this morning at the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.
The bearded Englishman hooked his opening tee shot into the water at the 10th and repeated his mistake at the 12th before being consoled by his girlfriend, Jodie.
“I nearly walked off the course after 12, to be honest,” said Johnston, who was three-over par at the time.
“It's been a frustrating year … (It) really got to me out on 10 and on 12 after hitting two tee shots because and I have been working so hard to try to get it right.
“But I spoke to my girlfriend and she just said keep going, so I did and I just tried to stay calm.”
The 29-year-old Londoner was visibly shaken as he walked from the 13th tee. But he managed to gather himself and make consecutive pars before clicking into gear with birdie at the par-5 15th.
“I wasn't in the best head space going down (13),” Johnston said. “I didn’t really get my head back until probably about 16.”
The World No.200 recovered brilliantly on his back nine, posting four birdies and no bogies to sign for two-under 70.
Johnston currently shares 14th place as the morning wave returns to the clubhouse.
“I was able to play golf and put a score together for the rest of the holes because I didn't hit any destructive golf shots,” said Johnston, who is heading to the beach to “chill out”.
“It's been a frustrating year … (It) really got to me out on 10 and on 12 after hitting two tee shots because and I have been working so hard to try to get it right.” – Andrew Johnston
Playing alongside Johnston, defending champion Cameron Smith played an up-and-down round – which featured five birdies and three bogies – to open with two-under 70.
“I struck it really well, just didn't quite have the putter going today,” Smith said. “The greens are quite different this week and just struggled a bit with the pace.”
Meanwhile, New South Wales Open champion Jake McLeod holds a share of the early lead after signing for six-under 66.
The Queenslander, who currently leads the Order of Merit on the PGA Tour of Australasia, excelled on the grainy greens at Royal Pines to score six birdies in his blemish-free round.
“Growing up in Queensland's obviously a bit of an advantage with me with the grain,” McLeod said.
West Australian Matt Jager birdied his final hole, joining McLeod at the top of the leaderboard, while South Korean Jae-woong Eom is one shot back at five-under.
World No.21 Marc Leishman shot four-under 68 and shares fourth place.