Allenby extends lead at demanding Moonah Links

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2005 Australian Open | Round Two | 25 Nov 2005
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Day Two Photo Gallery – Australian Open 2005

In yet another intriguing daywhere this time most of the attention fell on what was happening on the golf course rather than the off course spats between past and present golfers, Robert Allenby survived a most demanding day to lead at the end of day two of the Australian Open.

Allenby was around in even par 72 which paled in comparison to his amazing 63 yesterday, but in many ways the difference between the two rounds was nowhere near the nine shots the scoreboard suggested.

Today had been a battle for all concerned from those first off at 7:00am to those off in the last group at 2:36. The winds remained constant all day, the main difference in the afternoon was the difficulties that the drying greens presented. They dried so much in fact that the par four twelfth became an area of concern when the green there required syringing in order that it remain playable.

Unfortunately for those who had played that hole earlier in the day – many of whom had struggled with the unfair nature of the pin position – it was too late and their damage had been done. The green became the most difficult green to putt statistically and indeed had reached the stage when the group of Stephen Leaney, Peter O’Malley and Peter Fowler finished that hole where water had to be applied. O’Malley had a short putt for his par but when he went to mark it after he had missed that putt beyond the hole it began rolling and came to rest of the green. He took seven.

Later a tournament official from the AGU fronted the media to outline the chronology of events. The forecast had predicted a shower and a different wind direction to that which eventuated and in that regard it is hard to apportion blame in this particular issue. Water was applied immediately officials had been notified by scorers at that hole that there was a problem and distributed evenly after each group went through. That is likely of little consolation to Peter O’Malley. It does appear however as if was not caused by pushing the envelope too far which has been the case in 2002 at the Victoria Golf Club.

Allenby though was rock solid throughout. He said later it was a big grind all day.

“I knew before I teed off that would be the case and I knew I was going to need to be patient. I putted great all day and although I didn’t hit the ball as well as yesterday, that is not hard to understand as yesterday it was close to perfect. I was disappointed to have taken bogey at the 17th as I felt a round of one under would have been pretty good in these conditions. As it turned out I had to hole a ten footer for par at the last so I am happy overall.”

When asked on the issue of watering greens during play Allenby said, “That’s alright we get used to it and we do it often in the US. My ball spun back there when I thought I had hit the perfect little nine iron in there. I thought they put a bit much water on it however. I think they might have been a little scared. Some of the pin positions today were marginal in terms of their fairness given the conditions. My hand was a little better today although at one stage I caught it on the towel and it hurt a little later in the round.”

“I am still trying to hit the ball a little crisper rather than go deep on them and I struggled with a couple of long irons including my three iron second to the ninth,” he added.

Adam Scott moved to eight under par when he birdied the 7th but from that point on he was unable to pick up another birdie and added three bogeys. After a massive drive at the par five thirteenth he failed to get his birdie and then bogeyed the 16th late in the day to drop back to five under and when he walked from the 18th hole he had a lock on second place four back of Allenby.

Rod Pampling was out early and while at the time his second round of 70 looked impressive, it became even more so by day’s end when he had climbed to a five way share of third at four under. Pampling has contended on two or three occasions at this event but has been unable to finish it off. He is however now a player good enough to finish fifth at Augusta this year and on that recommendation alone – never mind his other growing credentials – he must be considered.

Aaron Baddeley, despite taking at times an inordinate amount of time in decision making – has managed to add another 70 to his similar opening effort on day one and at four under he has a chance to add to his two wins in this event already. Nathan Green the new graduate to the PGA Tour added another 70 to his opening round of the same score and added yet another USPGA Tour player to the list of those who will contend tomorrow. John Senden, has easily retained his card for the fourth year in the US in 2005 and is also on four under in third place. Six of the top seven at the end of thirty six holes are USPGA Tour players. The exception is Paul Sheehan who has however had yet another good season in Japan this year and has become a very accomplished player there.

David McKenzie, who has recently completed a successful season on the Nationwide Tour where he gained his USPGA Tour card, produced a stunning round of 67 – the best of the day – in the tough conditions that prevailed throughout his round. He is in a share of eighth place at three under.

“I think the secret to my success was my putting. I don’t think I missed a putt under then feet.” I have just had three weeks off and hardly touched a club and have worked hard with my coach Dale Lynch over the last few days and came here not really knowing what to expect."

Spencer Levin, Peter Senior and Scott Laycock are also at three under.

There are many still in with a chance. Those at even par are only five behind second place and any slip by Allenby tomorrow opens the door them and perhaps others even further back.

There are many twists and turns left in what has already been an Australian Open full of drama.

Photo – Anthony Powter

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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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