Australian reels off nine straight birdies to set European Tour record at Vic Open

James Nitties of Australia hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the FBR Open on January 29, 2009 at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Australian reels off nine straight birdies to set European Tour record at Vic Open

Euro Tour

Australian reels off nine straight birdies to set European Tour record at Vic Open

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How do you bounce back from a double bogey? Reeling off nine straight birdies helps.

That’s what Australian James Nitties did in the opening round of the $1 million ISPS Handa Vic Open. His 8-under 64 equalled the course record over the Beach course at 13th Beach Golf Club in Geelong, Australia, and helped him into joint second place with five players, two shots behind countryman Nick Flanagan.

Nitties made history by becoming the first player in European Tour history to officially make nine consecutive birdies in one round. Austrian Bernd Weisberger had nine straight birdies in the 2017 Maybank Championship, but an asterisk marks that feat since preferred lies were in operation.

Mark Calcavecchia was the first to make nine birdies in a row, which he did in the 2009 Canadian Open. England’s Bronte Law also recorded the feat while winning the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in December last year.

“I’m pumped,” Nitties said. “I don’t hold any other world records that I know of, so to be a part of one is pretty cool.

“I had a good chance for that 10th birdie but I didn’t want to break it. It’s such a longstanding record, I wouldn’t do that to Mark, so it’s good to hold it with him.”

The 36-year-old started his round on the 10th hole and got off to a fast start with a birdie. However, he stood on the 15th tee 1-over par after making a double on the 14th.

“I definitely have the world record for best bounce-back stat because I holed the nine birdies and I preceded it with a double bogey. It was a good way to turn around a double bogey.

“I was a little peeved off that I made double from the middle of the fairway and followed up with a couple of birdies and then rattled off about seven or eight more – it’s pretty special.”

Flanagan recorded a 62 over the Creek Course. His 10 under effort was one shot shy of a course record. The 2003 U.S. Amateur champion signed an eclectic card that included eight birdies, six pars, two eagles and two bogeys.

The 34-year-old has four wins on the Web.com Tour but is looking for his first European Tour victory in just his 16th start since turning pro in 2004.

England’s Felicity Johnson leads the concurrent women’s tournament by two shots on 8 under par.

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