Thursday, 07 February 2019
ISPS Handa Vic Open  (Getty Images)
ISPS Handa Vic Open (Getty Images)

Home favourite Nick Flanagan carded a brilliant 62 to open up a two-shot lead midway through a low-scoring first day of the ISPS Handa Vic Open.

The innovative event was making its first appearance on the European Tour as the field tackled the Beach and the Creek courses at 13th Beach Golf Club, with men and women from four tours playing over the same layouts in separate tournaments for equal prize money.

Flanagan's ten under par total was one shot shy of the course record on the Creek but history was made over on the Beach as countryman James Nitties carded a world record-equalling nine birdies in a row while matching the course record with a 64.

That left him in a tie for second alongside England's Callum Shinkwin, Kiwi James Anstiss and Chilean Hugo Leon, all of whom also equalled the course record.

Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita champion Kurt Kitayama was also at eight under after playing the Creek course, a shot clear of Australians Wade Ormsby and Lucas Herbert.

Flanagan has four wins on the Web.com Tour but is playing just his 16th European Tour event after finishing in the top ten at this season's Australian PGA Championship.

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger made nine birdies in a row at the 2017 Maybank Championship but with preferred lies in play on that occasion, Nitties' run of gains from the 15th to the fifth made him the first player to officially achieve the feat on the European Tour.

Starting on the back nine, Flanagan birdied the 12th and 13th and, after a bogey on the next, made another gain on the 15th before eagling the par five 17th.

The 34 year old made further gains on the second and third but with low-scoring the order of the day, a bogey on the fourth meant he was well off the pace with five to play.

He then catapulted himself up the leaderboard with birdies on the fifth and sixth, a second eagle of the day on the seventh, and a birdie on the eighth.

Nitties - who finished second at last season's ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth - started with a birdie on the tenth but double-bogeyed the 14th before his incredible run.

American Kitayama led on his own at nine under when he holed a 20-footer for eagle on the 17th after gains on the second, sixth, seventh, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th but bogeyed his final hole.

Shinkwin also got to nine under with birdies on the tenth, 11th, 15th, 17th, 18th, second, third, fifth and seventh but dropped a shot on the ninth.

Qualifying School graduate Leon eagled the second and added birdies on the fourth, tenth, 11th, 12th, 15th and last, while Anstiss was also bogey-free with eight birdies.

Ormsby made seven birdies with no blemishes as he set the early target, while Herbert had an eagle on the 17th to go with six birdies and a bogey.

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, New Zealander Ryan Fox, England's Andrew Johnston and Welshman Stuart Manley were in the group four shots off the lead.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAW, DavidSCO18-18
T2ORMSBY, WadeAUS18-17
4HARDING, JustinRSA18-16

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