Brad Kennedy is ready to take the fight for the Isuzu Queensland Open all the way to Sunday after taking the tournament lead at the halfway point of round two.
Despite a slow start to the morning in steamy Sunshine Coast conditions, Kennedy went on to card two bogeys and six birdies for a score of 4-under.
Together with an opening round of 65 the Queenslander eclipsed David Bransdon’s overnight lead to sit atop the leaderboard at 11-under the card.
“It was a bit of a flat start to be honest. I gave myself some opportunities, hit some fairways but didn’t quite get my wedges close enough which was a little bit frustrating,” Kennedy said.
“I made a soft bogey on 15 which probably was the bogey I had to have and that got me motivated. I then birdied five of the next six holes so something like that tends to spark you to get you into another gear.
“It was getting brutal out there heat wise. It was a big week last week and backed up from a late day yesterday so I was running on empty coming in but I managed to birdie the eighth hole and all in all I don’t think I’ll be ending by the end of the day but I’ll be somewhere there abouts.”
Novocastrian Jake Higginbottom proved scores were there for the taking at Pelican Waters Golf Club with an incredible comeback round of 63 to equal the course record set by Bransdon on Thursday.
After an opening round of 73 the 26-year-old holed an impressive eight birdies and an eagle at the par-3 16th to sit tied for third at 8-under the card.
A lone bogey on his last hole of the day, the ninth, was the only blemish.
“I played a lot better today. I actually played nice yesterday, I just putted very poorly so I got a few to go in today and had a nice chip in for eagle that got the round going,” said Higginbottom.
“It’s nice to be up there in contention. We’ll see how the guys go this afternoon and see how far behind I am and I guess just go out and do the same as I did today, tomorrow.”
Energy-sapping conditions continue to make play difficult for the 132-player field that will be cut to the top 50 players plus ties and amateurs at the end of today’s play.
Mindset will be key for all when the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament enters the weekend stage but for Kennedy more than most.
“To be honest I know what I have to do, whether I do it or not that’s a different story. I’ve got a situation where I’ve been in it before and able to learn from it so let’s see if I can do it this time,” he said.
“Mindset wise I just had to try and keep doing what I was doing from yesterday. The course gives you some really good opportunities but to be where I am and to look back at what I did there’s certainly room for improvement but I’ve got to get better to stay where I am.”
Victorian Richard Green used his experience to his advantage around the water-lined layout to finish the morning tied for third alongside Higginbottom with five birdies and an 8-under total.
“It was pretty solid day really. I felt like I left a couple of putts out there so I could have been a couple of shots better even but all in all it was pretty good,” Green said.
“They’re conditions that I’m not really used to in the heat like this but I enjoy it. I’m really enjoying the course, the golf course is fantastic and is one of the best I’ve seen for a while layout wise and scoring and opportunity wise.”
Round one frontrunners David Bransdon, Josh Armstrong and Jack Thompson are on course now.
For the live Isuzu Queensland Open leaderboard visit pga.org.au.