Golf: Blake happy to tough it out at Pebble Beach

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FOCUSED: Charlestown gun Blake Windred is “swinging it pretty good” entering the first round of the US Amateur at Pebble Beach. He is one of eight Australians in the field. Picture: Jonathan Carroll BLAKE Windred has never played a tougher stretch of holes. What’s more the Charlestown 20-year-old couldn’t have been happier.
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Windred tees off in the opening round of the US Amateur at the famed Pebble Beach early Tuesday morning.

“The8th hole to 11th hole is probably one of the hardest stretches of golf I have played,” Windred said of a practice round he had at the seaside links course.“They are using the same tees that will be in operation for the 2019 US Open.“It’s brutal. They have turned a couple of par-fives into par-fours. The practice rounds have been adream. I’m swinging it pretty good so very excited about teeing it up Monday (UStime).”

Windred will play the secondround at the neighbouringSpyglass Hill after the which the top64 progress to the matchplay section.

“Spyglass Hill is also very long with six-inch rough either side of the fairway and greens running at 12,” Windred said.

WELCOME PARTY: Australia’s competing at the US Amateur Charlie Dann, Shae Wools-Cobb, Dylan Perry, Zach Murray, Blake Windred, Nathan Barbieri and Min Woo Lee with the famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach as the backdrop. Picture: Golf NSW

Windred, who finished second at the prestigious Porter Cup at Niagara Falls County Club last month, is ranked 50thin the world and among eight Australians in the field of 312, including Aberdeen’s Gold Coast based Dylan Perry.Perth’s Min Woo Lee is the highest ranked Aussie at 12. The world’s top five,headed by American Braden Thornberry, are entered.

“It’s a pretty similar feeling to playing any big tournament but doesn’t feeltoo far from home with all the Aussies around me,” Windred said. “You will have to shoot good scores to progress to the matchplay but I don’t think everyone will shoot eight under. It will be a true test of golf.”

* James Nitties labelled the $40,000 Sanctuary Cove Shootout awesome and has asked the organisers for an invite to the unique pro-am next year.

Nineteen players teed off in one super group at Sanctuary Cove’s Pines Course on Sunday. One player was eliminated after each hole. Ties for the worst score at a hole resulted in a chip-off.

“I have already told them I want to be invited back next year,”he said. “As far as the big bash style of golf, and trying to get new and younger spectators involved in a game that can be a little slow, Ithink it is the way to go. We had 1000 people following a pro-am.”

Adam Blyth was the winner. Nitties bowed out at the 12thhole to finish eighth.

“I played really well,” Nitties said. “I would have been three or four under when I went out. I wasn’t in one chip-off, I didn’t make one bogey, then I get to 12th, hit it to 20 feet and three putt. No-one else had a bogey and I was eliminated.”

Nitties flies to Darwin Tuesday for the Northern Territory PGA, which starts at Palmerston Golf Course on Thursday.

“I finished 16th there last year,” Nitties said. “Travis Smyth blew the field away and won by six. It is definitely a challenging golf course and great event. It was the first time I had been to Darwin last year and enjoyed it.”

Nitties is part of a six strong Hunter contingent including Jake Higginbottom, Call O’Reily, Jamie Hook, Aaron Townsend and Clayton Bridges.

“I’m staying with Higgo for the week,” Nitties said. “Hopefully we can feed off each other and get something going.”

* Branxton’s Corey Lamb tees off in theInternational Players Championship at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta,Canada early Tuesday morning. Lamb is representing Jack Newton Junior Golf in the 54-hole stroke tournament.

SELECT CREW: The Hunter team which compete at the NSW PSSA Championships in Camden in September.

* Raymond Terrace’s Jackson Brooks fared best in tough conditions, carding97, to win the Hunter PSSA stroke championships at Newcastle on Monday. Singleton’s Max Stone was runner. A seven-member team, including three girls, will represent Hunter at the State Championships in Camden on September 11.

Hunter: Brooks, Stone, Rory Falk (Forster), Amy Squires (Shoal Bay), Caitlin van Zyl, Edie Armstrong, Taj Vesper (Singleton)

* Nomination are open for the Hunter Academy of Sport golf squad viawww.hunteracademy.org.au

* Harry Cleare (Nelson Bay) and Pyper Hollis (Kew) won the boys and girls section in the Singleton Junior Open on Sunday.

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