Downes retains Australian Open lead on day two

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2003 Australian Open | Round Two | 19 Dec 2003
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Chris Downes overcame a shaky start to his day with a back nine of 33, included a bogey at the 10th, helping him to retain his overnight lead at the Australian Open, although there are now some nineteen players within four shots of the lead.

Downes birdied his first hole but then went on to card three bogeys prior to the turn before righting the ship with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 14th. He finished his round in style with a birdie at the last to stay atop the leaderboard heading into the weekend.

2002 Australian Open champion, Stephen Allan, completed his early round in the day with a course record 66 to share the lead at that stage. American Ricky Barnes finished late in the day with a birdie at the last and the recently turned professional and 2002 US Amateur champion is well placed to be rewarded for making the effort to come to this part of the world. He is an interesting and obliging character with clearly the game to match his already significant profile. Barnes played well at the US Masters this year finishing 20th after being very much in contention leading into the weekend.

Last week’s PGA Champion, Peter Senior again played magnificently and is right there just two behind Downes as the weekend looms. Is this the start of a run that would see a repeat of his PGA and Australian Open wins in 1989? Senior is full of confidence right now and it would be perhaps dangerous to back against a repeat.

Nathan Green is also in the thick of things at five under as are Matthew Millar and Michael Wright with still a few holes to play.

Those at four under include Peter Lonard and Craig Parry who both may yet figure in the finish on Sunday. So too may Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby, who although five behind the lead at two under, are still very much in the leaderboard calculations.

The cut will fall at three over with such players as Scott Laycock, Geoff Ogilvy and Peter O’Malley having the weekend off.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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