Fiji International 2017: Thursday Leaderboard Scores and Highlights

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

SUVA, FIJI - AUGUST 17:  Daniel Pearce of New Zealand hits his tee shot on the 5th hole during day one of the 2017 Fiji International at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on August 17, 2017 in Suva, Fiji.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Daniel Pearce shot a brilliant six-under par round of 66 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Fiji International.

The 29-year-old put together a sensational start to his back nine to pull three shots clear at one point, although two bogeys before the end of his round brought him back to the chasing pack. After posting rounds of 67, Ben Campbell and Daniel Valente are just a shot back.

It was a fascinating opening day at the Natadola Bay Golf Club and with a prize fund on offer of A$1,500,000 (£924,470) on offer, competition is fierce.

Here is the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first day and a reminder of some of the best moments from Thursday's play.

         

Leaderboard

-6 - Daniel Pearce (66)

-5 - Ben Campbell (67), Daniel Valente (67)

-4 - Adam Bland (68), David McKenzie (68), Peter Wilson (68), Gavin Green (68)

For the standings in full, visit the European Tour website.

                 

Recap

SUVA, FIJI - AUGUST 17:  Daniel Pearce of New Zealand looks on from the 7th tee during day one of the 2017 Fiji International at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on August 17, 2017 in Suva, Fiji.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

There was one point on Thursday when Pearce, with his tail up, looked to have a special round in him.

The New Zealander started his day with back-to-back birdies, showing immediately that his game was in fine fettle. He then followed that up by picking up another shot at the 17th, his eighth on the day, before bouncing into the back nine.

Indeed, Pearce made an eagle at the par-five first and three more birdies in a row saw him charge into a three-shot lead and a score of eight-under.

As we can see courtesy of the PGA of Australia Twitter feed, he was on the charge:

But any hopes of an incredible round were ended at the sixth with a bogey, while another at the eighth meant Pearce ended the day without any major momentum at his back.

His compatriot, Campbell, was in closest proximity for much of the day, as he also excelled at the start of his back nine, rattling together a trio of birdies in a row. An eagle at the 17th then thrust him into second place.

Valente is keeping Pearce on his toes.
Valente is keeping Pearce on his toes.Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Valente will also hope he can kick on during Day 2, as he showed signs of promise on Thursday. If he can eradicate the errors from his game—two bogeys offset his five birdies—he can compete over the weekend.

There are some stellar names involved in this field, too. Per the Asian Tour, three-time major winner Vijay Singh shot a decent opening round of 71: 

Jeunghun Wang has the best ranking of anyone in the field. He shot a level-par round of 72, though he could have been better off with some luck:

Elsewhere, there was a moment to remember for Peter Cooke, as he aced the 149-yard 15th. The Australian is one-under par for the tournament.

Canadian Austin Connelly, who was so impressive at last month's British Open, is well-placed to attack over the next three days, having shot a three-under par round to get his week under way.