West is best at Australian Open
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 Australian Open | Round Two | 14 Dec 2007
At the completion of the second round of the Australian Open it is a pair of West Australians who lead at 8 under.
Kim Felton, who finished early in the day and Nick O’Hern, who produced a very impressive afternoon round of 66, lead the way but with 33 players within five shots of the lead, many of them highly credentialed and world class players, it is anybody’s guess as to who may be in front at the end of play on Sunday afternoon.
O’Hern was the star of the afternoon but for many the highlight of the day was the gesture of Robert Allenby, who may otherwise have become the villain this weekend at the Australian Golf Club.
Earlier in the week, Allenby had voiced his concern over the introduction of the ‘party hole’ concept at the par three 11th at this week’s event. Today, he self-mockingly wore a pair of fluffy earmuffs to light-heartedly block out the noise at the par three 11th.
“I did it to stop the story as much as anything,” said Allenby afterwards, referring to the public response to his opposition to the creation of this stadium like hole. It had the desired effect, the crowd warming to his timely gesture. He won them over with that one small action and hopefully he will enjoy, rather than endure, the experience over the next few days.
Back to the golf and while Felton and O’Hern live contrasting lifestyles in terms of their golfing schedules and success, they have proven their capabilities with an impressive two round total on what is a golf course of the highest quality. The task now for both is to continue on against what is going to be a barrage from those stacked up behind.
“I putted beautifully out there today and had a nice flight on my shots,” said O’Hern after his round.
“I have been in this position once before in this event but that was back in 1997 at the Metropolitan. I have a lot more experience now and now know what to do to win the tournament.”
“The golf course got firmer this afternoon and the last few holes were tough but I have won the last tournament of the year twice previously and it would be nice to do so again.”
Felton is just happy to be where he is after a period where he has struggled with his game so it is an important weekend’s golf coming up for the multiple Von Nida Tour winner and a winner on the Nationwide Tour.
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.”
He has yet to go to the next level but he has, at least, created a chance for himself.
Andew Bonhomme, Robert Allenby, Lee Williamson and James Nitties are on the next line at 7 under, while the group at 6 under includes Craig Parry, whose course record equalling round of 64 moved him from obscurity to contention, Brisbane’s Wayne Perske and Victorian Steve Jones.
Jones played late in the day and threatened to do to what Williamson had done yesterday, namely to upset the assembled media who had already prepared their stories.
When he birdied his third to last hole to move to 7 under it became more than a possibility that he could lead at the end of the day. Unfortunately for him, he bogeyed the last but the Queensland based Victorian is having a good week.
66 players made the cut, which fell at even par, however, the defending champion, John Senden will be resting this weekend after missing the mark by one shot.