Outspoken world No.556 David Micheluzzi has let his clubs do the talking to upstage the faltering big guns and seize a commanding Australian Open first-round lead.
Micheluzzi backed his up his pre-Open rankings rants with a course-record-equalling seven-under-par 63 at Victoria GC to grab a three-stroke buffer over the chasing pack.
Sixth at the Australian PGA Championship after winning last month's WA PGA, the sandbelt specialist continued his hot form to post an early low number that no one was able to catch on on Thursday.
The Victorian rolled in eight birdies and dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four 10th hole in a statement showing two days after venting his rankings frustrations on social media.
In no uncertain terms, Micheluzzi pointed out how he picked up double the amount of rankings points for finishing ninth at the 2021 Australian PGA Championship than he collected for placing sixth last week with world No.3 Cameron Smith in the field.
"WTF is this shit!," he posted on Twitter.
Even Tiger Woods this week called for a rankings overhaul as golf officials grapple with how to deal with the emergence of the Saudi-backed LIV tour that has so dramatically shaken up the sport.
Taking advantage of the benign morning conditions, Micheluzzi was a man on a mission as he reeled off birdies at the second, fourth, fifth, ninth, 12th, 13th, 17th and 18th holes.
"I'm not going to even mention about the world ranking points," he said post-blitz.
"Everyone knows what I think of it. Good golf takes care of itself."
At four under, Matthew Griffin and Josh Geary are Micheluzzi's closest pursuers on a leaderboard littered with lesser lights.
Connor McKinney, Zinyo Garcia, Haydn Barron, American Gunner Wiebe, Frenchman Pierre Pineau and Dane Nicolai Hojgaard are all at three under sharing fourth.
Lucas Herbert, Harrison Endycott and Cameron Percy, all one shot further back, are the leading US PGA Tour players in a 13-way tie for 10th.
With seven birdies, Adam Scott managed a one-under 71 at co-hosting Kingston Heath despite lamenting four bogeys and a double, while world No.3 Cameron Smith is in danger of missing the cut.
The Open champion carded a one-over 71 at Victoria to be languishing eight shots behind Micheluzzi in joint 61st with 2017 champion Cam Davis.
"It was all pretty rubbish to be honest. That's as bad as I've played in a long time. It was pretty shitty," Smith said.
Men and women are sharing the fairways at a national championship for the first time anywhere in the world, forcing officials to apply a second cut after Saturday's third round to reduce the two fields to the top 30 players and ties.
That leaves Smith playing catch-up on Friday.
Australian Associated Press
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