On a day when Australian hope was largely defeated, Blake Windred and Jack Trent were high when the American amateur started in North Carolina.
Windred, the world No. 11, played back an exemplary nine on the No. 4 track in Pinehurst to race through the field on the first day of two-color qualifying rounds.
The Novocastrian stumbled out of the blocks and was two left after three places in the eighth hole, but from that moment peeled off five birdies to get a fine of three under 67.
"I felt pretty good, pretty comfortable," said Windred.
“It was pretty early there and then in the nine years before, we had really, really good circumstances. I could use it, so I was pretty happy with the round in the end. "
Windred said that patience was the key to his round due to his early problems.
"(The birdie at nine) got me back a bit and then I shot some good shots," he said.
"I really nailed a few putts and a few shots with which I could make pretty nice birdies, especially on a few of the hard holes.
"So I was very, very happy with it."
That was good enough to share fourth position on a day when almost all the top scores were returned on the No. 4 track, with a handful of Aussies fighting hard on the nearby No. 2 beast.
Another to shine at number 4 was the American Queenslander Trent, which brought back a quality 68 that also featured a result of late birdies.
But it wasn't that promising for the other four Aussies in the field of & # 39; the world's leading amateur event.
World number 3 David Micheluzzi turned four hours after starting on the 10th and finally found a birdie on the long par-four to stop the bleeding and finish at five.
Remarkably, in a group with world No. 1 Cole Hammer and No. 2 Conor Gough, that was the only bird of the day of the glamor trio. Hammer also finished at five over, while the Englishman Gough effectively finished at nine over.
New South Welshman Jordie Garner returned a fighting 73 to sit three on the No.4 course, but the shine came off late with a double-bogey seven on the par-five 17th.
His NSW state teammate Josh Armstrong earned his share of the birdies on the more difficult No.2 course, but suffered from three double bogeys to finish in six.
Western Australian-based Karl Vilips, who was based in Western Australia, started disastrous on the second course and made six straight bogeys for two pars after starting on the 10th.
But it became even worse for the upcoming double representative of the Junior Presidents Cup when he doubled the 18th and surrendered eight.
Vilips did much better on the first nine with three birdies, but still has a lot to do from his seven-over-par total.
The top seven scores were all returned on the number 4 course, which means that it is difficult to determine the respective positions until the players switch to the second round of tomorrow.