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King rules after smashing record

Photograph by Blaire SimmonsAdmiring your work: Augustus plays his second shot within four feet of the pin, making birdie on the par-four 13th in the opening round of the Gosling’s Invitational at Belmont Hills

Danny King obliterated the course and tournament records to take early control of the Gosling’s Invitational at Belmont Hills yesterday.

The Canadian fired a career best 12-under-par 58 during the opening round to smash the previous course and tournament records by four shots.

King’s bogey-free round included nine birdies and an eagle at the par-five 6th.

The former PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada winner got his round off to a flying start, rolling in five birdies and an eagle putt to make the turn seven shots under par.

King was just as flawless on the back nine, which he played at five under to join an exclusive group of players who have broken 60 in tournament play.

“I shot 60 before, but not in the 50s, which is pretty cool,” King said. “It was just one of those days. I made some putts early in the round and just got some momentum.

“The conditions were good and the golf course is much improved from previous years. The greens are a little faster so the ball rolls really true. The putter was working today and I was hitting some good shots. Everything was kind of going my way.”

Prior to yesterday, multiple winner Kirk Hanefeld held the course and tournament records, which he achieved at the Gosling’s Invitational in 2010.

King came close to capturing a maiden Gosling’s Invitational crown last year after finishing in a tie for second.

“I had an opportunity to win or at least be in a play-off come the last round but hit the last shot a little too long and made a bogey,” he said. “But I played really well.”

Four shots back in second is David Wettlaufer, King’s friend and good luck charm, whose eight-under-par 62 equalled Hanefeld’s old course and tournament records.

“David and I have this ongoing joke; I try and have breakfast with him at tournaments because every time we have breakfast I seem to win the tournament,” King said. “We’ve got some good vibes, are good friends and have spent a lot of time on the golf course.”

In third at three under par is Kent Fukushima, who won the event in 2013. Brian McCann, the defending champion, is at one under along with the equally steady Hanefeld. Bermuda’s Nick Jones is among a bunch of players who came in at even par and led the local professional field at the end of the opening round.

Jones achieved a rare feat after carding an albatross at the par-five 6th to go along with the five birdies he also made during his impressive round.

His only blemish arrived at the par-four 14th where he lost momentum after making a triple bogey. Camiko Smith and Brian Morris both shot one-over par 71 while Dwayne Pearman, the last local player to win the tournament back in the Nineties, and Daniel Augustus, a past amateur winner at the event, each came in at three over.

Bermuda’s Damian Palanyandi shot a two-over 72 to carve out a three-shot advantage in the amateur division, while American Glenn Kelley leads the senior field by two shots over local player Hav Trott.

Today’s second round is the last to be played at Belmont Hills as the remaining 36 holes will be held at Port Royal.

This year marks the first time the tournament has been played over two separate venues.

Results, page 30