High flying Jeffrey Guan has fired a warning shot at the leaders, carding a bogey-free six under par 66 to move into contention at the ISPS Handa Australian Open.
Playing at The Lakes, Guan, who started his day on the 10th hole, reeled off birdies on the 11th, 14th, 16th and 17th to turn four under for the day. Two more at the 6th and 7th on the front nine saw him sneak into the top five for most of the afternoon.
The round catapulted the 19-year-old about 51 places up the leaderboard and right back into the tournament, and well in the mix with the final two rounds to be played on his home course, The Australian.
Guan seemed more relieved than delighted with his second round despite the almost perfect performance.
“It was good to get my game sorted these past couple of weeks.
“I actually hit 18 greens today which kind of helped. I left a couple of putts out there, actually on the front nine, but other than that, I played all right.”
Guan said the more benign conditions this morning compared to yesterday afternoon’s tempest and the relatively shorter layout at The Lakes aided his efforts today.
“I teed off in pouring rain, it was pouring down. But this course is not overly long. It’s a second-shot type of course which I really love.”
Guan, in his first month or so as a professional, said his transition to the pro ranks had been a positive one and that his final event as an amateur, the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne, had stood him in good stead with the conditions he has faced this week.
“Royal Melbourne was just such a big test. It was windy, and obviously, the sandbelt courses are big and firm. It bodes me well for these couple of weeks.”
It wasn’t quite the day they had planned for a few of the other NSW stars in contention after yesterday’s opening round.
Overnight leader Cam Davis had a forgettable day, a double on the 7th, followed by bogeys on the 12th, 13th, and 16th, saw him drop to four under at one stage. Birdies on the 17th and 18th saved a bit of pride; the three over par 74 saw him drop into a tie for 16th.
Matt Jones carded a pleasing four under 68 at The Lakes to jump into 16th alongside Davis.
Newcastle-based Andrew Dodt matches Jones’s round at The Lakes to get to minus three after two rounds to be tied 39th.
Travis Smyth made a promising move early in the day to get to five-under, but two late bogeys killed his run, and the Shellharbour gun finished his day just inside the cut line at minus two alongside Rhein Gibson.
LPGA Tour Rookie Grace Kim leads the NSW contingent. Her even par 73 at The Lakes was enough to vault her into outright 7th.
Steph Kyriaocu, who carded a second-round 75 at The Australian, is in a tie for 8th, a shot behind her good friend, Kim.
Overnight co-leader Rachel Lee played at The Australian Golf Club and, battling a neck strain, carded a 79 to tumble down the leaderboard.
With a lot more buzz around the course and more than a few more eyes watching her than she had probably ever faced before, 16-year-old Lee endured a rollercoaster second round, dropping six shots in her final four holes.
Claire Shin carded a two under 70 to move into 17th, while Ella Scaysbrook, after her opening three under par round, crafted a four over 76 at The Australian in the harder afternoon conditions.
Chizuru Ueda, Sarah Kemp and Ann Jang are tied at three over in a tie for 27th, while Amelia Mehmet- Grohn is T36.
Kelsey Bennett is tied for 38th, while Amy Chu and Danni Vasquez made the cut at plus six.