“I’ve had breathing problems for a while,” Chisnall said. “These sort of conditions don’t really help me and I didn’t bring my inhaler today. That was a bit of a mission.
“Some bloke on the 17th fairway [Chisnall’s eighth hole of the day] gave me a mask. I don’t know if it helped, but I gave it a whirl for a bit and tried it out. I was always going to just keep going.
Some bloke on the 17th fairway gave me a mask. I don’t know if it helped, but I gave it a whirl for a bit and tried it out
“It’s pretty bruising. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and you go through the ups and downs. Physically I feel fine. It’s just the constant cough. By the end of the day the head starts to hurt a little bit because you’re coughing so much.”
At least one member of the All Australian Abilities Championship – which is due to start on Friday – had reported similar problems earlier in the week, but tournament officials were confident in the lead-up to the event that a change in wind conditions would help.
But, as bushfires continue to rage across the state, pollution levels were noticeably increasing as the first round wore on.
Former Australian Open champion Matt Jones, who finished at four-under to be two shots shy of joint leaders Takumi Kanaya and Chun-An Yu, said even the morning’s players had trouble.
“It’s awful,” Jones said. “I’m not sure what the forecast is [but it’s] not good at all. It’s tough to see your golf ball when you’re out there playing, where it finishes.
“Your eyes do burn up. I’ve got that cough like you’ve got something in your lungs, phlegm in your lungs or whatever … it’s not fun.
“Even when I played in China I didn’t think it was like this at all. Definitely not in Malaysia, it’s just unbelievably humid, but no, I’ve never experienced anything like this. I hope my kids are inside in the hotel room.”
Robert Allenby said he ran out of eye drops before the end of his round after applying the liquid so frequently.
Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott, who chalked his only birdie on the final hole to finish at four-over, faces a huge ask just to make the cut and said he felt like he should spray salt water up his nose to cleanse himself.
“It got pretty thick for a while,” Scott said. “It’s not great. On Tuesday my eyes were really stinging. It’s obviously not the conditions we want to be playing in. You kind of hope for rain. You can’t do much, but it’s the same for everyone. We’ve got to get on with it.”
Said world No.14 Paul Casey: “I don’t care about me. You’ve got to feel for the people that are right next to the fires. You’re not going to hear me complaining about it because I’m not in a position to complain. Apart from stinging eyes it has no effect on our golf out there.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.