Brad Kennedy holds a four-shot lead at the #QLDPGA with much of round two still to be completed at a rain-soaked City Golf Club in Toowoomba.
Despite the typical Queensland bathing the regional course during the morning’s action, rain again forced the suspension of play by the afternoon.
Kennedy was 20 minutes away from taking to the tee for round two before the downfall forced the players from the field for three hours.
Yet the interruption made little impact on the 45-year-old, who went on to shoot 3-under thru 12 to push out to a 12-under the card total.
It follows his course record-equalling 9-under 61 yesterday.
“It was pretty tricky out there, but I’m feeling good and in control. It’s early days into my season so I’m not expecting a lot,” the Japan Tour player said.
It took until the seventh hole for Kennedy to extend his overnight advantage. He followed that effort up on nine and secured consecutive birdies.
“I’m just trying to match my intention with every shot. The green was soft and the rain made it challenging to judge distances, but I remained calm and got myself into a good rhythm,” he said.
“You just have to go with it. I’m looking forward to playing another six holes tomorrow before commencing round 3.”
New South Welshman Callan O’Reilly hasn’t given up hope of reining in the runaway leader after a second consecutive round of 4-under 66 elevated him into second position.
O’Reilly and veteran David Bransdon were the ones to make up the most ground on Kennedy at the top of the leaderboard.
Former Canadian Open winner Nathan Green fired the best of the completed morning rounds with a 6-under 64 that was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 17th while Queenslander Matthew Guyatt will take home a fond memory of his own having aced the 113-metre par-3 eighth.
Based at Toronto Country Club near Newcastle where Green also calls home, O’Reilly had to bounce back after making double-bogey at the par-4 first – his 10th hole for the day – but is confident that with less errors he has the weaponry to give Kennedy a run for his money.
“Today I showed that if I can keep the errors out of my game I’ve got a low number in me,” explained O’Reilly, who was 3-under at the turn and picked up birdies at two, five and seven to be 8-under at the halfway point of the tournament.
“We’re obviously up against it a bit trying to chase down Brad but he’s still got 54 holes to play and I’ve only got 36.
“I had one little glitch on the first where I made a bit of an error and made double-bogey there but pretty happy that I clawed it back. I made a birdie straight after it and played a solid back nine after that.
“I’ll just keep chipping away and see if I can catch up.”
A regular on the Japan Golf Tour, there was just the one blemish on Bransdon’s scorecard, a bogey at the 403-metre par-4 ninth the only sour note in his 65 that featured six birdies and saw him join O’Reilly at 8-under, one shot behind Kennedy.
With challenging conditions and lengthier rough at City Golf Club than in years prior, former NZ Open champion Dimitrios Papadatos doesn’t expect scoring to be as low as it has been in past championships in Toowoomba.
Daniel Nisbet triumphed by six shots with a four-round total of 24-under 12 months ago but after moving into a tie for fourth at 7-under with a 2-under round of 68 on Friday morning, Papadatos remains in the hunt.
“It’s definitely more difficult than in recent years because of the rough being up and being soft out there it’s playing a little longer,” said Papadatos, who after starting on the back nine registered three birdies on the front to get back under par.
“The scoring is usually pretty low around here but this year it’s a bit different.
“You’ve just got to hang in there and keep giving yourself opportunities. I made a birdie on the second and got a bit of momentum back and kept going from there.”
The hottest round of Friday morning belongs to Austin Bautista, the Bankstown product reeling off seven birdies in just 12 holes to finish 7-under.
Round 2 will resume at 6:45am (AEST) with a two-tee round 3 start likely to commence from 10am.