Nathan Green marches towards Aussie Open title on day two

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2006 Australian Open | Round Two | 17 Nov 2006
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On a day of marked contrast to that which the field at the MFS Australian Open faced on day one, Nathan Green has continued on his march towards the Stonehaven Cup by maintaining his overnight lead of two at the halfway point.

Some of the field may have been forgiven for thinking that Nathan was playing at another venue so dominant has he been on a golf course where so many others have struggled. Playing once again with Greg Norman and the youngster Matthew Giles, Green was rock solid through the front nine his first birdie coming at the 5th followed by another at the 7th.

Green recorded just his second bogey in 31 holes when he dropped a shot at the 14th and when Green somehow managed to birdie the most difficult 17th hole he had closed to within two after his namesake had established a five shot lead at one stage today.

Earlier in the day others had threatened to challenge the lead of Green’s but to a large extent they came and went although having said that they did not go too far. Stuart Appleby, Adam Scott, Ryan Haller, Peter Lonard and Steve Bowditch all threatened to challenge the lead and staked claims during their morning rounds and although all backed off a little over their closing 9 holes, they had positioned themselves in close enough proximity to perhaps be a factor over the weekend.

In the afternoon groups the two Greens (Nathan and Richard), Gavin Coles and Brett Rumford all continued to separate themselves from those not under par for the tournament. Green was in a world of his own for a while when he went to seven under and led by five but things can change in tournament golf and on a golf course like this where an accident awaits at every turn. The dropped shot at the 14th had him just two ahead and when Brett Rumford birdied holes 13, 14 and 16 the West Australian had moved into outright third. Two late bogeys however and Rumford was back at even par despite an impressive round of 71.

Gavin Coles has again shown in 2006 what a gutsy competitor he is by regaining his USPGA Tour card via the Nationwide Tour and with four consecutive birdies before and after the turn he was making his move. He finished off his round with a series of pars to finish with 70 and at 1 under he is very much in the mix.

Out on the course also was Greg Norman battling to make the cut and to keep those who had planned to come out this weekend to see their great golfing icon in action happy. After making the turn in 34 and getting well inside the cut line things began to unravel for Norman. He bogeyed the 10th then after he had double bogeyed the 11th it looked over for all intents and purposes. This however was Greg Norman and he knuckled down to the task. A bogey at the 15th was balanced by a birdie at the next but when he bogeyed the tough 17th it appeared his chance for weekend work might be gone. Again he responded in the manner we know Greg Norman is capable of doing. There have been times in his career when he has not produced the goods when he has needed to but today he did. From just off the green at the last Norman holed a lengthy birdie putt and he was assured of entertaining what is likely to be a huge gallery at the weekend.

Richard Green missed a great chance at the 15th for birdie then three putted the par five 16th for par before hitting a superb long iron to five feet at the 17th to move back to four under and within two of Green.

Nathan Green had a great chance at the last to extend his lead after two fine shots to ten feet but missed after the roar of Norman’s lengthy birdie putt had died down.

As the dust settled after what had been an intriguing day at Royal Sydney, Green (Nathan) led by two over Richard Green, by five over Gavin Coles and Stuart Appleby and by six over a large group at even par which included several players who could well feature on Sunday . They included Adam Scott, Nick O’Hern, Steven Bowditch, Geoff Oglivy and Brett Rumford.

The final pair of Nathan and Richard Green will tee off at 1.00pm just in time to welcome those who have walked the last few holes, perhaps more, with Greg Norman.

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.

    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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