The keys to Jordan Zunic’s strong start at the Australian PGA Championship? A book and a practice round.
Zunic, who fired a 6-under 66 on Thursday at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Gold Coast, had been struggling with his game recently, so his girlfriend, Olivia Marlow, suggested to Zunic that he read “Tour Mentality,” a book written by Australian pro golfer Nick O’Hern. Even better: Zunic played a practice round with O’Hern on Tuesday.
“My girlfriend Olivia put me on to (the book),” Zunic told the PGA of Australia. “She said I should give it a read because mainly I’ve been struggling with more of my mindset, the mental aspect of the game. It was a great read. Olivia sent Nick an email to saying how it’s really helped me a lot. He got back in touch with me, and then fortunately this week I managed to have a practice round with him on Tuesday.
“Next thing you know, I’m having like an 18-hole mentor playing lesson with Nick O’Hern. I mean, what can I say, what an awesome bloke. He just gave me such an insight on how to think better.”
Zunic shares the first-round lead at the Australian PGA with fellow Aussie Adam Bland. The two are a shot ahead of five players, including Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman.
Garcia teed off at 6:10 a.m. local time alongside Adam Scott and Wade Orsmby before carding a bogey-free round that included five birdies.
“I’ve never teed off at 6:10 in a tournament,” Garcia said. “I think probably the earliest I’ve teed off is 6:50, maybe 7. So that was interesting. … I want to say it was the closest I’ve had a dinner and a breakfast ever. Yeah, I woke up at 4 this morning, had a bit of breakfast and then I got to the putting green probably just after 5.
“I got to the 10th and I was impressed how many people were there at 6:10 in the morning. I was expecting people to kind of come throughout.”
Leishman posted six birdies and an eagle to offset his three bogeys. He played his final four holes in 4 under.
“It was a really nice way to finish,” Leishman said. “The back nine I played a lot better, a couple birdies. That eagle was really nice. And then to follow it up with a birdie and birdie the last was really good.”