An amateur and a PGA trainee lead the Northern Territory PGA Championship in Darwin at the halfway mark after some exceptional golf from Travis Smyth and Frazer Droop.
Starting the day with a two-shot lead, amateur Smyth was in control all day and at one stage held a five-stroke lead over his professional competitors.
Finishing the second round with three-under 68, Smyth sits on top of the leaderboard at 10-under the card.
“I played very solid again today, I am very happy with the way that I am hitting it and my short game as well,” said Smyth. “I birdied the seventh to get to two-under for the day, since then I felt really comfortable out there, like I hadn’t hit a bad shot.”
Smyth shares the lead with his friend, PGA trainee Fraser Droop from Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on the Murray River. It was a round of highlights for the 20-year-old who scored an ace on the par-3 seventh using his 54-degree sand wedge.
“I was two-under, going nicely in my round and got to the short par-3 seventh – 106 metres it was a perfect full sand iron for me,” said Droop. “I just knocked it out a little bit left of the hole and it was shaping itself back in, it took one bounce and a little bit of side spin then straight into the hole.
“I was playing with the pro from here Tony (Albon) and I had my Pop on the bag, it was a good experience and a great atmosphere on that hole.”
South Australian Adrian Percey also aced the seventh using his pitching wedge.
For their feat Droop and Percey, alongside Terry Pilkadaris who recorded a hole-in-one at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship, win a share of 1 million Qantas Points.
“I just rang Mum after the round and she said I can take the family on a few Bali trips,” added Droop. “If I don’t use them for golf trips, hopefully I can take the family to a few nice places.”
Droop went on to equal the Palmerston Golf Course record, firing eight-under 63 to be tied for the lead with Smyth after two rounds.
“It’s nice to equal a course record, that’s my first time doing it,” said Droop. “I was two-under before I had the hole-in-one and that kind of got me rolling. I was four-under through the turn and was hoping for a few birdies, not expecting too much.
“But I ended up playing the back nine great and having 4-under through there as well, so no complaints at all. It’s not often you see your name up there in a state PGA and it’s my first state PGA, so to see my name up there with my good mate Travis Smyth is great fun.”
Playing in the afternoon, Victorian Deyen Lawson fired four-under 67 to be outright third on eight-under the card, trailing the leading duo by two shots.
Defending champion Jordan Zunic, Max McCardle and Darren Beck round out the top-five placegetters a further shot back.
Michael Long was the leading New Zealander on the leaderboard. He shot a 66 to be four strokes off the lead in a tie for seventh place.
The second round cut was made at even par with 58 professionals and one amateur making the weekend rounds.