Dann, Wilson share top spot at The Players Series Sydney

The equal-best round of the day and a stunning bounce-back have given Queensland’s Charlie Dann and Victorian Peter Wilson a share of the lead at the halfway point of The Players Series Sydney at Bonnie Doon Golf Club.

Strengthening winds made play progressively more difficult for the morning groups and was at its strongest as the afternoon wave took to the course, conditions easing later in the afternoon.

Dann’s 7-under 64 was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 ninth while Wilson had to fight his way back into contention after starting the second round with three consecutive bogeys heading into the teeth of a wind he estimated to be in excess of 40km/h.

“Yesterday I hit driver, 9-iron into the first and today it was driver, 3-wood,” Wilson explained.

“Obviously I got off to a rough start but I knew that seven, eight and nine were the easier down-wind holes. I just had to stay patient and wait for those holes to happen and I played them in 4-under again like I did yesterday.”

An eagle two at the par-4 seventh and birdies at eight and nine getting him back to square on his round at the turn, Wilson made it five shots in the space of four holes with a birdie at the par-4 10th.

Yet despite joining Dann at the top with two closing birdies, he had competition from his daughter Chloe for best Wilson result of the day.

“This morning my daughter won her first pennant match, so it was really cool to get that message before I teed off,” said Wilson, who credited his good play in the opening two days to a swing tip from Jason Norris earlier in the week.

“She’s playing Division I for Cranbourne in the ladies pennant and she won on the 17th hole at Huntingdale so I’m probably more happy for her. There’s still a long way to go in this tournament.”

A late bloomer in the world of professional golf, 28-year-old Dann didn’t turn pro until the end of 2018 but has consistently got himself into contention without quite closing out a breakthrough tournament win.

With the prospect of returning to the PGA Tour China Series looking less and less likely, a strong weekend at Bonnie Doon would represent a critical short-term career milestone on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

“I’m around 70th at the moment (on the moneylist) and I only crept up a little bit after the Moonah events,” said Dann, who finished tied for 11th at the Moonah Links PGA Classic.

“These next three weeks are pretty crucial for me for the next year or so.

“It would be really nice to hold an Aussie card at the least for the next 18 months going forward.

“These next few weeks are important to me for sure.”

Matching Dann for round of the day to be one of five players sitting one shot adrift, 2019 NSW Open champion Josh Younger finished his round with a chip-in eagle at the par-5 ninth with former NT PGA champion Travis Smyth (65), professional debutant Jack Thompson (66), Victorian Blake Collyer (67) and Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb (68) all within one of the lead.

Although Elvis Smylie garnered much of the pre-tournament attention, Thompson has just the one bogey to his name through 36 holes in his maiden event as a professional.

“I pulled my tee shot left on 10 yesterday and as I was walking up there I was still a little bit nervous,” admitted the South Australian.

“Then I hit a really good shot into eight or nine feet and from that point on I felt so calm. It set the tone, to pull off a shot like that at the start. From then on I felt pretty calm.

“It’s a nice feeling looking at the leaderboard and seeing your name up there, you never get sick of it. I’ve just got to continue on and keep doing what I’m doing good and see where we go from there.”

It was a disastrous day for overnight leader Stephanie Kyriacou, the local Sydney hope crashing with a second round of 9-over 80 to miss the cut by three shots and reduce the number of females to make the weekend to four.

LPGA Tour regular Su Oh (68) and Augusta National-bound amateur Grace Kim (70) are the best-placed of the ladies at 5-under par, one shot clear of newly-turned professional Doey Choi with a further shot back to fellow Sydneysider Breanna Gill at 3-under.

The third round of The Players Series Sydney presented by Cisco Webex commences at 9.50am AEDT on Saturday with the final two rounds to be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more round 2 reactions from #ThePlayersSeries leaders here.

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