Newcastle golfer Andrew Dodt will take a two-shot lead into the third round of the Australian PGA Championship after a second impressive outing at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.
The 30-year-old from Charlestown backed up his seven-under 65 from the opening day with a 67 on Friday at the $1.5 million co-sanctioned European and Australasian tour event.
The European Tour player gave a shot back on the 18th, just his second bogey of the tournament, but still finished with the day’s best round and a 12-under total. Dodt had shared the lead with Victorian Ashley Hall and American Harold Varner III after the storm-delayed first round.
“I hit the green on the last but unfortunately rushed my first putt first then missed the one coming back,” he said. “So it was a frustrating way to finish because I really wanted to go bogey-free today, but it wasn’t to be and I’m not going to beat myself up about it too badly.
“The job’s only half done, so I need to keep in the same mindset that I’ve had for the first two days. I’d rather score well than hit it well, but today both elements combined, so I’m obviously really happy with the state of my game.”
Dodt told the Herald his four-iron to the long par-three 14th was indicative of his form.
“I think it was about 180, but it was playing 190. It’s just a really tough par-three. The front of the green slopes from front to back. I hit a four-iron to 10 feet maybe and then holed the putt. I think there was only one birdie on that hole for the day.”
World No.7 Adam Scott is two shots back from Hall, tied with Kiwi Ryan Fox for third, after what he said was his best round of the summer, a second consecutive four-under 68.
"It was a good day to do it because it wasn't that easy," Scott said. "My striking was crisp at the ball."
Hall was left to rue a triple bogey on Friday morning. After starting on the back nine, he was down to 11 under before he hit into a hazard off the tee on the par-four 11th then went into a bunker before three-putting. He birdied two of his last five to rebuild his lead, before Dodt took it back again with three birdies on the back nine.
Hall was not the only golfer to blow a lead on Friday. Varney III is fifth after going clear with a birdie on the 12th, his third hole, then quickly falling apart with consecutive double-bogeys.
Hunter golfers Kurt Barnes and James Nitties made the cut at one over, following first-round 74s with one-under 71s, but Jamie Hook (76-73), Ed Stedman (77-79) and Callan O’Reilly (76-74) will miss the weekend.