The 26-year-old Calgary native fired an Edmonton Country Club course-record 64 Thursday to sit atop the leader board after the first round of the TELUS Edmonton Open in the Alberta capital. Welder leads fellow Calgarian Wes Martin by one stroke and ten others, including Canadians Arden Knoll (Kelowna, BC), Eddie Maunder (Whitby, ON) and Doug McGuigan (Langley, BC) by a pair.
After carding a 66 last Thursday at the TELUS Vancouver Open, Welder was 3-over for the rest of the tournament, eventually ending in a tie for 31st.
On Thursday, he exceeded even his own expectations.
I told my wife and my brother that I felt like I was going to shoot another 66 today, said Welder, who had nine birdies on Thursday. I feel very confident, now I just need to focus and relax. What I did last weekend doesnt matter. Im just going to go out and have some fun and keep hitting the ball the way I have been.
Composure has admittedly been a problem in the past for Welder, something he says he will need to avoid if he is to remain in contention.
I used to have a temper out there, but now I understand you have to take the good with the bad. You arent going to hit a great shot every time.Patience is the number one key in this game. The less pressure you put on yourself, the better golf you will play.
Martin, who shot his 66 in the morning draw, echoed Welders sentiments.
I was working on my swing last night on the range and I felt something that I liked, said Martin. I just have to keep my composureeven today I was thinking about getting to 7 or 8-under. That is the kind of thing that gets in my head, and I cant do that.
If there was a feel-good story Thursday, 11-year Canadian Tour veteran Knoll provided it. The 38-year-old Kelowna, B.C. resident was stung in the neck by a hornet during last summers P.E.I. McDonalds Challenge. The venom leaked into his right retina, causing Knoll to lose 70 per cent vision in the eye. His best showing on the Tour last year was a tie for 25th at the Bayer Championship in Sarnia.
After Fridays second round, the field will be reduced to the low 60 scores plus ties. The remaining golfers will compete on the weekend for the $24,000 top prize.