First round leaders consolidate at Open
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2008 Australian Open | Round Two | 12 Dec 2008
Those players who played late on Thursday and early on Friday have made the most of the conditions on the opening two days of the Australian Open at Royal Sydney.
As midday approached on Friday, the heavens opened up and the cut mark, which looked at one stage as if it might even fall under par, headed north very quickly. That of course was good news for those who were already in the clubhouse and two of the joint first round leaders were amongst those.
24-year-old West Australian Stephen Dartnall closed his second round with the clubhouse lead following a superb 68 to go with his opening round of 65 to move to 11 under and at that point led by two over Ewan Porter and Mathew Goggin.
“I played pretty well, said the 24 year old. “I hit a couple of shots offline and got lucky with them. I am happy but the good thing is that I feel I haven’t gotten everything out of the rounds so there is room for improvement.”
Goggin was in the Media Centre soon after and was not happy with the way he played but happy with the score.
“I didn’t play well at all and feel fortunate to have eked out a round of 70,” said Goggin in his post round press conference. “Three or four years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do that,” he added referring to the work that he has been doing on building patience.
“Starting at the 10th today was a little tough as that hole played into the wind and on the first few holes it seemed hard to build a rhythm as most were into the wind and there were plenty of long irons.”
“I am surprised by how good the scoring is. The soft greens have helped in minimising the runoff and that has helped for the little shots around the greens which in turn has helped the scoring.”
Porter rebounded from a soft bogey at the par five 7th but worked his way back and when he birdied the par three 14th he was at 10 under and within one of the lead. Finding the bunker at the difficult par three 17th cost him a bogey and at the last he again dropped a shot after plugging in the fairway bunker to finish at 8 under and three behind Dartnall.
It was a disappointing way to finish for the 26-year-old from Sydney’s south.
“I did not play well out there today in fact it was a bit like army golf, left right, left right but the weather in many ways helped as it kept me in the present, thinking only about the shot at hand.”
“Coming into this week my goal was to play four rounds given the way I have been playing so I am very happy with my position.”
Porter blames his poor form following his win at Moonah Links earlier this year on putting too much pressure on himself getting his USPGA Tour card. He was unable to graduate to the higher level but will return to the Nationwide Tour next season where he has full and long term status because of the win.
“I am going to get myself a base in the US next year as my life in the US this year was a little nomadic.”
Porter finished 10th in this event last year but is aware that his game is not in the same shape as it was then or at Moonah Links where he won so convincingly.
“I guess if you can shoot 65 playing badly then it is not all bad,” he added referring to yesterday’s opening round.
The three first round leaders had consolidated their positions at or near the top of the leaderboard and as the rain increased their fortunes were increasing form the warmth of the clubhouse.