Kobori stretches his lead at Vic PGA - PGA of Australia

Kobori stretches his lead at Vic PGA

Kiwi Kazuma Kobori has shot a second consecutive 5-under 67, this time on the Open course at Moonah Links, to stand alone atop the Vic PGA leaderboard at the halfway mark.

Kobori is at 10-under, and leads by three, with James Gibellini and Maverick Antcliff tied second at 7-under.

The 22-year-old rookie pro was happy to be back on the Open course, where he won twice as an amateur.

The Open course this week has been altered slightly, set up in the original Peter Thomson designed routing.

As he points out though, it’s still the same course.

“It was a lot nicer conditions than yesterday, so I probably got the good side of the draw and made good use of it too,” he said.

Kobori made dive consecutive birdies from hole 12 through 16 and it looked like he might go really low, but a bogey on 17 brought him back down to earth, slightly.

“Yeah the putter got hot. I hit it close on 12, four-feet and hit it close on the next (6-inches).”

Kobori then got the putter going, rolling in three lengthy birdie putts on his way to carding 67.

Earlier in the year, Kobori claimed the Australian Men’s Amateur title in strong winds at New South Wales Golf Club, and seems to thrive on the tough conditions.

“I’m not the longest hitter, but if you take the positives out of that, it means my golf ball’s in the air for less right, so the wind’s not going to affect it as much,” he laughed.

“I don’t necessarily enjoy playing in the wind, but I think it does suit my game.”

In only his second event since turning professional, Kobori is still settling in.

“The first two rounds definitely feel a bit different… if you don’t make the cut you don’t get paid!

“If you don’t make the cut as an amateur you just caddie for your buddies.

“I think I enjoy it, there’s a bit more meaning to every round I play, whereas in amateur golf I was starting to lose that a bit.”

Kobori has already qualified for both the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, and the ISPS Handa Australian Open in the next two weeks, but his focus this week is firmly on securing his first win as a professional.

Gibellini shot up the leaderboard today with a bogey-free 65 on the Legends course today, following an even-par 72 on the Open yesterday.

“Just a couple (putts) that just shaved the edge. Could’ve been a couple better but it’s always like that isn’t it,” he said.

“I’ve been playing well, so hopefully we can finish it off over the weekend, but it’s going to be pretty contested.”

Maverick Antcliff and amateur partner Phil Bannister are leading the team’s event at 19-under.

Notable players to miss the cut were defending champion Andrew Martin, Dimi Papadatos, and last week’s champion Kerry Mountcastle.

Full scores HERE.

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