Yang leads morning field on day two

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 Australian PGA Championship | Round Two | 25 Nov 2011

Despite heavy but welcome overnight rain, day two of the Australian PGA Championship Presented by Coca Cola got underway on schedule at the Hyatt Regency Coolum and in perfect scoring conditions.

The two overnight leaders, Choi Joon Woo and Steven Bowditch, would start on either side of the draw on day two but Bowditch, who has put together an afternoon round of 66 on Thursday would take best advantage of the early morning conditions when he teed off at 6.30am.

By his 5th hole Bowditch has raced to 3 under for the day and 9 under for the tournament. He had established a three shot lead and the noted front runner appeared as if he might just continue the trend.

The revised layout at Hyatt Regency Coolum has a way of taking back what it gives up and Bowditch’s round suffered a hiccup when he bogeyed his 12th hole and a major disaster when he triple bogeyed his 14th after driving into the hazard right. Given the circumstances he did well to steady the ship and he finished with four consecutive pars for a round of 73.

As Bowditch’s name disappeared from the leader-board others were only too happy to step up to the plate.

Taiwan’s, Chan Shih-chang who plays the Asian and One Asia Tours and who is ranked a lowly 939th in the world, took up where Bowditch left off. He moved to 6 under for the tournament with a birdie at the 8th and three hours later would finish that way.

Jason Day and Y.E. Yang, who were playing together with Rickie Fowler, matched motors for much of the day although Yang’s was more of a roller coaster than his younger opponent. Yang started the day at 3 under, got to 6 under, dropped back to 3 under and then birdied four consecutive holes towards the end of the round to finish at 7 under and at that point had the lead.

“It’s not really Royal Melbourne greens right now, it’s a little bit easier," said Yang. “It was good prep I feel from last week to get ready for this week and there are some shorter holes I need to play well on my wedge and my nine iron and my shorter irons. I think playing at Royal Melbourne helped me out quite a bit to prepare for this tournament.

“I had a double bogey on each round, yesterday and today, so considering the fact that I didn’t really play my top game, I really didn’t have a clean sheet, I think it’s satisfactory. We’ve still got two more rounds to go so I think I can build on this. I mean anybody would love a great big lead but I’m going to take whatever the golf course gives me right now.

“I’m still trying to play a lot of golf while I’m still fairly young. I’m trying to play a lot of tournaments both in the US and internationally. I’m trying to get my elusive win after the 09 PGA Championship in the US and get some more wins internationally. That’s the biggest priority for me right now.

Day did not drop a shot as he slowly but surely accumulated birdies and had a chance to join Yang in the morning lead when he hit his approach at the final hole of his round (the 9th) to 5 feet. He pulled the putt and he would add a second consecutive 69 to be at 6 under and one behind Yang.

Newcastle’s Leigh McKechnie, Chan Shih-chang, Victorian, Kieran Pratt, Anthony Summers, and Stuart Appleby were also one behind the lead on 6 under.

While the sea breezes were a little stronger in the afternoon the conditions were still almost perfect and the possibility of Yang’s morning lead coming under attack from the quality players remaining in the second half of the draw was looking more and more of a reality.

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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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