Royal Sydney perfect for early starters
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2008 Australian Open | Round Two | 13 Dec 2008
Round two of the 2008 Australian Open was completed this morning at Royal Sydney Golf Club after 78 players were forced to return at 6.45 am to take up where they left off at 3.00pm yesterday.
Despite the constant overnight rain, conditions improved sufficiently in the early hours of this morning for play to get underway at the scheduled time and several players took advantage of the excellent scoring conditions.
With soft greens, no wind and freshly mown greens, the opportunity was there for those disadvantaged by the wet afternoon conditions yesterday afternoon to make amends and three players in particular, David Smail, Chris Gaunt and Steve Conran did just that.
Smail picked up six birdies and a bogey in the holes he had remaining and moved to 9 under par and within two of the overnight lead of Stephen Dartnall. Smail finished runner up at last week’s season ending Golf Nippon Series event in Japan a week after representing New Zealand at the World Cup and arrives here as a player capable of winning an event such as this.
Victorian Chris Gaunt finished 6th at the Australian PGA Championship last week and stormed home with a back nine of 30 to move into contention once again at 9 under and in a share of second with Smail and Mattie Goggin who completed his round yesterday.
An eagle at his 10th hole, the first at Royal Sydney, kick started Gaunt’s round after an opening nine of 35 and he continued his progress with three birdies in succession to finish.
Steve Conran was another to benefit by the delay storming home in 31 to finish with 66 and at 8 under is within three of the lead.
Jason Norris, who 12 months ago had his jaw broken in 13 places and all his top teeth knocked out in a push bike accident on the Sunshine Coast, highlighted his recovery by producing a brilliant second round of 65 this morning and he moves from the cutline to contention.
The cut has fallen at even par with 61 professionals and the only amateur to make the cut, Danny Lee, to play the final two rounds.
The third round will get underway at 12.00 from both the 1st and 10th tees with the likelihood of play being back on schedule by this evening. Conditions this afternoon are forecast to be hot and breezy.
Stephen Dartnall leads by two over Mathew Goggin, Chris Gaunt and David Smail with Ewan Porter and Steve Conran one shot further back.
Notables to miss the cut include Stuart Appleby, Craig Parry, Peter O’Malley, Peter Senior, Nathan Green, Darren Clarke and John Daly.