Lonard ahead but many at his heels

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2006 Australian PGA Championship | Round Two | 08 Dec 2006
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They came from near and far on Friday morning of the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship as those who had experienced the slightly more difficult conditions on Thursday afternoon relished the benefits of good early morning greens.

The breeze was slightly stronger than at a similar time yesterday but that was hardly of any concern to the quality of player on this side of the draw.

First it was Peter O’Malley, then Michael Wright, then Bradley Iles who took the lead but before long Nathan Green and Peter Lonard, who both have form at Hyatt Regency Coolum, staked their claim for the second round lead.

Green rushed back from his stunning win in Auckland to play in the Holden Scramble on Monday and perhaps surprisingly, given the demands of the past few days, is back in the hunt so soon after. He reeled off a second round of 64 after starting his round at 7:05am and at 10 under appeared to have the morning lead before Lonard birdied his last four holes to move one ahead.

Wade Ormsby is a joint course record holder at the Hyatt Regency Coolum having recorded a round of 63 two years ago and over his final nine holes today birdied six out of seven holes to race to 10 under and was just one back of Lonard. A trip to the early stages of the USA PGA Tour School earlier this year allowed him to spend time with Peter Fowler to which he attributes his recent turnaround in form.

“My alignment was all wrong and since that trip I have made adjustments and things have improved. I am now starting to reel off a lot of birdies in each round and now if I can reduce the bogeys I know I can do well.” If not for an ordinary Saturday last week in Auckland I could well have won there."

Paul Gow was the last of the ten unders to finish amongst the morning players and he continues a dream run at present, having earned his card last week. Like Peter Lonard, his stablemate in the Links Sports Management team, Gow seems to have found something in his game in recent weeks perhaps the work he has done with his mind guru Neale Smith this year is slowly kicking into place.

Smith, who caddied for Gow at the recent Tour Championship on the Nationwide Tour, pulled him aside and told Gow a few home truths about his attitude on the course and his temper and it seems to have had an impact. That he was able to play well at the weekend at the Australian Open, regain his USPGA Tour card last week and to achieve what he has to date in this event speaks for itself.

The afternoon group will face increasing afternoon seas breezes and it appears at this stage as if the impressive total of 11 under by Lonard is unlikely to be headed by day’s end.

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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