O'Malley, Lyle share half way lead at NZ PGA

BY iseekgolf.com | Web.com Tour | 2005 New Zealand PGA Championship | Round Two | 25 Feb 2005

A mixture of youth and experience on show today, sees Veteran Peter O’Malley and young gun Jarrod Lyle as joint leaders at the ING NZ PGA Championship, finishing on 10 under after the second round at Clearwater Golf Club today.

After 36 holes, 63 players have made the cut of -2 (142). The cut is reduced to the top 60 players and ties.

Round one leader and Jacob’s Creek Open Champion Steven Bowditch and American Jeff Gove share second at nine-under, just ahead of Canadian Jon Mills and Colombian Camilo Villegas.

O’Malley, who started the day at 6 under, started on the back nine, reeling off four birdies to take him to nine under at the turn. He then birdied the 7th, taking him to a bogey free round of 10 under, taking the early lead on day two.

O’Malley, who turns 40 in June, finished T10 at the Jacobs Creek Open last week in Adelaide and T5 at the Holden NZ Open the week before. He has shot rounds of 67 and 68 in the tournament so far, just one shot over the early rounds of 67 and 69 that he shot when he went on to win the Championship in 2002.

“I got off to a good start today and just played nicely, hitting the ball onto the fairways and onto the greens, said O’Malley. “The course is a lot softer today and it was very important to stay out of the rough.”

The much expected afternoon breeze was up as O’Malley went into the clubhouse, making it a test for the afternoon starters, but its not something that seems to bother the Bathurst born professional.

“I won this event in 2002 and then finished tied for sixth the following year so it is a course I am comfortable with and if the wind picks up on the weekend I think it will be to my advantage.”

Lyle, who finished tied for third at this years Heineken Classic, his best ever professional finish, looks to be back in the swing after he missed the cut at the following two events, the Holden New Zealand Open, and last week’s Jacobs Creek Open in Adelaide.

“After the last two weeks I was a bit disappointed not to play well. I wasn’t so bad in Adelaide but I was terrible at Gulf Harbour, but I here feeling really refreshed. I took a couple of weeks off and my game is feeling really good this week”, said Lyle.

“This course sets up well for me. You have to drive it straight. The rough is a lot thicker near the fairways so you have to give yourself opportunities to hit the greens.”

Playing in his 9th professional event, Lyle said the change in form could have something to do with changing putters this week.

“I was having problems with my putting so I decided to return to the old faithful (his putter of six months ago). I really don’t know why I took it out of the bag because I haven’t been putting well and then I used it this week and my putting has been good. I haven’t made a bogey yet!”

Local hope Tony Christie was on track to join a group of 4 at seven-under – despite finishing the back nine double-bogey, bogey, bogey – but he again undid all his good work with a second double-bogey at his last, going into the water at the ninth to finish with a 73, dropping him to five-under.

That means the highest-placed Kiwi is David Smail, who added a second 69 to get to six-under, sharing 11th place with Americans Jaxon Brigman (69), Ricky Barnes (70) and Brent Schwarzrock (72).

Play continues tomorrow at 8:25am at the Clearwater Golf Club, for round three of the ING NZ PGA Championship.

Source – PGA Tour
Photo – Anthony Powter

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