Felton continues momentum on day two
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 Australian Open | Round Two | 14 Dec 2007
If West Australian Kim Felton was surprised by his opening round of 67 at the Australian Open Golf Club then he would have been even more surprised that he was able to back it up with another today. What appeared to please him most was that he was able to keep the bogeys off the card.
“I have had only two in the 36 holes so that is pleasing,” he said.
Felton birdied three of his last six holes including one at his potentially dangerous last hole (the 9th of the course) to move to eight under but at that point he trailed the leader, Williamson, by two. An hour later he had the lead as Williamson struggled over his closing holes with three consecutive bogeys to finish at seven under and in a share of second place with James Nitties, who emerged as a contender very late in the morning.
Felton was the Australian Amateur Champion in 1996 and finished third at the Australian Masters in 1997 as an amateur. He is keen to adopt a different travelling schedule in 2008 when he again attack the Nationwide Tour.
“I want to come home (to Perth) more often, as that is how I seem to play my best,” he said. “I have been staying over in the US the past couple of years as I share a place in Scottsdale with a friend but while that is a good arrangement I would prefer to come home more regularly.”
Williamson finished amongst the last groups of the morning and was clearly disappointed to have dropped the three shots late in his round that saw his two shot lead converted to a one shot deficit behind Felton.
“I have had 15 birdies and an eagle and am at 7 under so that is not good,” he said in his post round conference.
James Nitties played behind Williamson and his round of 66 had him in the media room soon after his round. It was a welcome return to face the media for the Novocastrian, who has struggled for much of his career since turning professional in 2004. At that time he finished runner up to Peter Lonard at the Australian PGA in just his third event in the paid ranks but illness, and the lack of confidence have held him back.
“I have started to play well of late as my putting has improved and I have also been working with my sports psychologist. That I am healthy now is every respect is paying off and there is no doubt I am a much more complete player now than was the case when I finished runner up at the PGA.”
Nitties has no status on the Nationwide Tour but will look to go back there next hopefully with a couple of good finishes in the co-sanctioned events here in Australasia at the start of the Nationwide Tour season.
Craig Parry equalled the course record of Greg Norman and Steve Elkington when he improved ten shots on his opening round of 74 and put his recent form improvement in both New Zealand and here at the Australian Golf Club down to a tip from the Callaway equipment van guru in Japan.
“Koji, I think his name is, saw me on the range at the recent Visa Taiheiyo tournament and suggested that I get my shoulders a little flatter on my backswing and it seems to be working. The ball flight has been much better since. I also had the benefit of my nephew, Matt Thomas, on the bag and his young eyes did a very god job of reading the greens today. I have also had a little help from Richard Flood this week on my short game.”
Parry remembered the day he shot 65 when creating a course record during his 1987 win at the New South Wales Open win around this layout and was determined not to let the chance of 64 slip today.
“I three putted the last that day and today I told myself that wasn’t going to happen again.”
Parry was at six under and in a share of third when he finished his round.
Also at six under was Brisbane golfer Wayne Perske, who went quietly about his business on the other side of the golf course to that on which the more favoured tournament chances were. When he two putted the last for birdie he had moved to six under and very well placed to show to Australian fans the game that has seen him have success in Japan.
So as the morning proceedings drew to a close, Felton led by one over Williamson and Nitties and by two over Parry and Perske. They are about to be bombarded, however, by those out in the great scoring conditions in the afternoon.