Round two of the New South Wales Open at Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club delivered another day of entertaining scores with players taking advantage of the perfectly prepared course drawing praise from international stars.
Four professionals are locked at the top of the leaderboard on 12-under par after the first 36 holes.
West Australian Jarryd Felton shot 6-under 66 for the second time this week, enjoying some solid golf following his top-10 finish at the Fiji International earlier this year, a tri-sanctioned event with the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, Asian Tour and European Tour.
“I’ve been playing well the last three months after Fiji, that performance gave me the confidence to mix it with the big boys in the big events,” Felton said.
He’s back in the country after an unsuccessful attempt at qualifying for the European Tour but is happy to have bounced back with a solid performance so far.
“I struggled in Europe last week but it’s good to find form here leading in to the big events over summer.”
Felton was runner-up to Adam Blyth in the NSW Open last year at nearby Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club and says there are certainly lessons to be learned after playing extremely well and falling short.
“I think I had 21-under last year and lost so if I go out there and shoot 21-under again I think I’ll close,” laughed Felton. “I’ve won a couple of times which has been great but sometimes a loss when you’re playing well isn’t too bad.”
Texan Kramer Hickok also shot 6-under for his share in the lead, he has only had one bogey in the first two rounds.
“I felt like I hit a little better than yesterday, I didn’t quite make as many putts but I had the necessary up and downs on the par-5s and that really gave me a lot of momentum,” Hickok said. “I’ve only made one bogey in the past 36 holes so I’m limiting the mistakes and just trying to keep doing what we’re doing. That’s one of my strong suits to bounce back after bogeys so it was good to get it back to 12-under and hopefully have a good weekend.”
The Mackenzie Tour-Canada Player of the Year joined a chorus of support for the Twin Creeks layout and gave a glowing appraisal of the greens presented by course superintendent Justin Doyle.
“They’re probably the best greens I’ve been on in the past five years; they’re so green, so pure. It’s one of those deals if you have an eight-footer and you miss it it’s on you.”
Queenslander Daniel Nisbet played a solid round of 4-under 68 to remain at the business end of the leaderboard.
“I did a little bit more scrambling today, the pins were tucked in some pretty tricky spots and a couple of runoff areas so I did have to do a little bit of scrambling off the greens,” Nisbet said. “But I still feel I struck the ball really well, the putter saved me a couple of times, now I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Former NSW Open champion Ben Eccles (pictured above) shot the equal best round of the day: an eight-under 64 to rocket himself in to contention.
Jason Scrivener (WA) shot 3-under 69 to be tied in fifth position with Lucas Herbert (VIC) who shot 5-under 67, both sit at 11-under par.
Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the equal low round of the day (64) to be 10-under.
After round one’s hole-in-one, West Australian based-professional Michael Long provided the highlight in round two. Long scored his second albatross in a tournament round on the par-5 11th. Incredibly, his playing partners Brett Coletta and Zach Murray eagled the same hole.
“The last one I had was in about 1996 up at Coolum, so a long time ago,” Long said. “I hit a 4-iron and thought I pulled it a little bit, maybe just to the edge of the green but I couldn’t quite tell. I think it sort of got to about pin high and there was a little knoll there and it fed down off that. It took probably four or five seconds and then someone said ‘it’s gone!’ and there were high fives all round.”
The cut was made at 1-under par with 72 professionals and 12 amateurs making the weekend rounds.
The final two rounds, today and tomorrow, will be live streamed on PGA TV from 12pm to 5pm.