AS SOMEWHAT of a veteran PGA Touring Professional, Glenn Joyner first visited Kalgoorlie in the early stages of his career to play the then sand scrape courses.
Twenty years later, he’s back in Kalgoorlie leading the course’s first ever Professional tournament, the 2012 WA Goldfields PGA Championship, on a pristine two-year-old Graham Marsh layout.
“It’s amazing. I came here about 20 years ago and played the other golf courses with the sand scrapes, and to see this is just incredible. Graham Marsh has done an absolutely outstanding job,” said Joyner post round.
“It just makes you wonder how they get that green grass to grow on that red dirt.”
At age 48, Joyner is one of the oldest players in the PGA Tour of Australasia field. On Thursday he shot the lowest round of the day, a 4-under 68, to set a new course record at Kalgoorlie Golf Course.
“I’ve been coaching at Yarra Yarra for the last four and a half years, and just this year I decided to get back into playing,” said Joyner who has played only a handful of Tour events and pro-ams in 2012.
“I’ve played the Tour for 20 years and I’ve now given myself three years to get back into it and get ready to have a crack at the senior’s tours when I turn 50.”
“I finished second at last week’s Hi-Lite Pro Am at Royal Pines, and the game is feeling good.”
With no confirmed start in next week’s ISPS HANDA Perth International, Joyner intends to try and pre-qualify on Monday morning in Perth.
A win this week however would guarantee him a start, the winner also to receive the lion’s share of the $110,000 prize purse in addition to Official World Golf Ranking points.
On a day where players battled the Kalgoorlie winds, only eight players finished under par.
They include Queenslanders Kurt Carlson and Ian Esson who share second position at three-under par, and Victorian Andrew Kelly who is a shot back at two-under par.
Of the West Australians in the field, Damien Chatterley finished highest on the leaderboard, starting the tournament with a solid 1-under par 71 to finish in a share of fifth position.
Fellow West Australian Ray Chow is the best placed amateur leading into the second day, currently T29 at 4-over par.
The hard luck story of the day belonged to Matt Stieger who, in his debut Professional tournament, had prepared himself this morning to tee off with only three clubs, all borrowed from the local Kalgoorlie Pro.
Stieger returned to Australia from Turkey on Tuesday night to find that his luggage, including his clubs, had gone missing on route to Perth.
Taking it all in his stride, the New South Welshman received a last minute reprieve, his father arriving at the first tee with his well travelled clubs with 10 seconds to spare.
Having missed practice rounds and the pro-am, on his first trip around the Kalgoorlie layout the rookie shot a 7-over 79, but will be on a mission to make amends over the remainder of the tournament.
The WA Goldfields PGA Championship will continue at Kalgoorlie Golf Course through to Sunday. A family friendly event, entry is FREE for all spectators.