Hendry leads at joint Vic Open
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2012 Victorian Open | Day Two | 06 Jan 2012
New Zealand golfer Michael Hendry has established a massive six shot lead as the Victorian Open heads into the weekend at the Spring Valley Golf Club in Melbourne.
The 31 year old, from Auckland, added a second round of 66 to his opening round of 65 and threatens to lead the event from go to whoa.
Hendry has accumulated a massive 16 birdies in the opening 36 holes on the quality layout in Melbourne’s sandbelt and the biggest improver in New Zealand golf in the past two years is well placed to win his first PGA Tour of Australasia event.
Hendry has won on the OneAsia Tour and become one the leading players on that Tour in that past two years but he has also been ever present in lesser events in Australia and New Zealand as he establishes his career in professional golf.
Hendry is a product of the Institute of Golf Academy in Auckland where a steady stream of New Zealand’s rising stars are being produced. Hendry is older than many of those around him there but he has only really focused on a career in professional golf in the last few years after playing cricket to a high level in his home country.
Hendry has already won Charles Tour events in New Zealand but has yet to win in Australia. He has though finished 3rd and 6th on the Order of Merit in his first two years on the OneAsia Tour, a win and runner up finish at the Indonesian Open a significant catalyst for the high placing.
The New Zealander’s nearest challenger is Sydney golfer Scott Arnold who matched Hendry’s second round of 66 to go with his opening round of 71.
Arnold struggled through much of 2011 but is a player good enough to have won the 2009 Australian Amateur Championship, finished runner-up at the 2009 NSW PGA Championship and 3rd at the NSW Open that same year. Like Hendry he has put together several good finishes in OneAsia Tour events.
Queenslander Matthew Ballard and Japan and OneAsia Tour winner in 2011 Kurt Barnes are two shots behind Arnold in a share of 3rd position with Leigh McKechnie one shot further back.
Ballard might feel somewhat rewarded after having missed out of qualifying for the J.B. Were Masters, returned home to Queensland then flew back again to Melbourne on the off chance that Stuart Appleby would not play the event due to an injury. Appleby teed it up but did not finish the event and so Ballard missed out on a start.
The large group at 1 under and sharing 6th position includes Craig Parry, Alistair Presnell and Aaron Townsend.
Tomorrow the Women’s Victorian Open field, in this jointly staged event, arrives at Spring Valley having played the first 18 of 54 holes at the nearby Woodlands Golf Club today.
The Women’s second round will be played on Saturday afternoon with their cut being made to the leading 50 and ties at the completion of 36 holes while the men’s field will play early on Saturday, their cut having been made this evening at 4 over.
In the opening round of the Women’s Victorian Open played in blustery conditions there is a three way tie for the lead with Haeji Kang, Rebecca Flood, Jessica Speechley and amateur Su Hyun Oh ahead by one over 2011 Ladies European Tour event winner, Frances Bondad and Ladies European Tour player Nikki Garrett.
Korean born Kang is a former standout golfer while playing her amateur golf in Australia and the highly talented Oh, from the Kingswood Golf club in Victoria, recently won the Greg Norman Junior Masters at Coolangatta Tweed Heads by a massive seven shots. Kang also won the Greg Norman Junior Masters earlier in her career but now plays her golf on the LPGA Tour where she has comfortably retained her status in 2011.
Speechley unsuccessfully attempted qualifying at the recent LPGA Tour School and Flood plays the Ladies European Tour where she has retained her status for 2012. She is to be married in February so a good week here would be of benefit.
The group just one shot further back includes the highly credentialed Lindsey Wright and Karen Lunn.
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