Gaunt gets best of conditions

  • Sand trap: Drew Fanelli shoots out of a bunker during the opening round at Turtle Hill (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Sand trap: Drew Fanelli shoots out of a bunker during the opening round at Turtle Hill (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • In the lead: Daniel Gaunt (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

    In the lead: Daniel Gaunt (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

There is a familiar face at the top of the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship leaderboard at Turtle Hill Golf Club.

Daniel Gaunt, who stormed to victory at the Gosling’s Invitational last year, leads the field by two shots, despite shooting a round over par for the first time in a local tournament.

The Australian battled his way to a two-over-par 56 that included two birdies and four bogeys in blustery conditions that took a heavy toll on the field.

“With this sort of weather it doesn’t matter who you are, anything can happen around here,” said Gaunt, a two-times winner on the European Challenge Tour and PGA EuroPro Tour.

“It was so hard out there today, the wind is absolutely brutal.

“I haven’t hit a driver into a par three in a long time.”

Three over at the turn, Gaunt steadied the ship on the back nine where he remained bogey free and also carded a second birdie of the round at No 10 to put himself in the driver’s seat, if only just.

“That back nine I really scrambled but came home decent,” Gaunt said. “It was just a scramble day, even the downwind holes were tough.

“It’s only one more round, but I’m still going to have to shoot a good number, and I think the weather is going to be terrible again tomorrow.”

Three shots off the lead in a tie for third is Bermuda’s Anthony Mocklow, who also leads the local field.

“It’s always fun to not be out of it and, of course, I’m thrilled,” said Mocklow, whose round contained two birdies and seven bogeys.

“The conditions were unbelievable. It’s a lottery; you hit a good shot, the wind blows or you hit a bad shot the wind stops, who knows?

“I hit one particular ball 130 yards long and I hit a four iron, and I haven’t hit a four from 136 since I was a junior golfer.”

Local trio Jevon Roberts, Anne O’Neill and Allen DeSilva are the leaders in the men’s and women’s amateur division and men’s senior division at the halfway stage.

“I had one bad swing and it cost me a triple at 16,” said Roberts, who leads the men’s amateur field by three shots. “But I hit it really good and felt I controlled the ball pretty well today.”

Roberts is five shots off the overall lead in a tie for thirteenth with local professionals Dwayne Pearman Jr and Scott Roy.

“I was not as consistent off the tee like I would like to be,” Roy said. “But I was able to pull off a couple of shots and it worked out.”

Carding a hole in one at No 11 was American senior player Larry Stemerman.

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Published Mar 3, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 2, 2018 at 11:49 pm)

Gaunt gets best of conditions

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