Quayle embraces 'brutal' winds to lead Queensland PGA - PGA of Australia

Quayle embraces ‘brutal’ winds to lead Queensland PGA

Gold Coast’s Anthony Quayle has opened up a two-shot lead at the top of the Queensland PGA Championship as fierce winds sent scores tumbling on day two at Nudgee Golf Club in Brisbane.

Co-leader overnight with Daniel Gale and Cameron John, Quayle opened up a handy buffer on Friday morning by shooting an even-par round of 72.

Gale had reached seven-under midway through his second round before tumbling down the leaderboard when he dropped five shots in the space of four holes while John also signed for a 77 to be one-under at the halfway mark and tied for ninth.

Elvis Smylie has dragged himself back into tournament contention with the pick of the morning rounds, his four-under 68 getting him back to even par for the tournament and inside the top-20 as scores continue to balloon.

Wind gusts of between 30-40 km/h coming predominantly from an easterly direction made birdie opportunities hard to come by, Quayle picking up his lone birdie at the par-3 third whilst making his first bogey of the week at the par-5 15th.

As the majority of the field struggle to come to terms with the conditions that he admits are “brutal”, Quayle is embracing the opportunity it brings to be creative with his iron play.

“I love playing in the wind. I really enjoy shaping my irons especially both ways,” said Quayle, the 2020 Queensland Open champion.

“I like to hit compressed draws, I like to hit cut-up shots. I have a lot of fun generally when it’s windy like this.

“It’s difficult but I kind of enjoy the shot-shaping and the artistry of the game.”

Although a 72 doesn’t compare to the 66 he shot on Thursday afternoon, the 27-year-old said it was important to appreciate the value of par and not get caught up in chasing birdies… yet.

“There’ll probably be a point come were you have to be a little bit aggressive and maybe make a bit of a move but at the moment, in these conditions, there’s very few opportunities to do that and push,” said Quayle, who was tied for sixth at last week’s Australian PGA Championship.

“You have to be pretty patient. Not get too ahead of yourself or too frustrated out there.

“Normally you might have some benchmarks on holes that you think might be birdie holes and you feel like you might be giving something up to the field by not making birdie or making a bogey.

“You really have to reset those standards for the day because it’s not how the course plays anymore. Today was completely different to yesterday, the greens had firmed out a little bit, they were probably a touch slower and I think they’ve done decent with the set-up just to make sure the greens aren’t unplayable.”

As the rest of the field struggled Smylie is now just six strokes from the lead after he erased the deficit of a four-over 76 on day one with a superb ball-striking display on Friday.

The 19-year-old made three birdies in the space of four holes on the front nine – and narrowly missed the fourth – and picked up shots at 15 and 17 to bring yesterday’s course record 66 into the picture.

He three-putted the par-3 18th from the front of the green to drop to four-under on his round but feels that he has put himself in position to challenge over the final two rounds.

“I turned four-under and holed a couple of long par putts which kept the momentum going,” Smylie explained.

“Made a couple of birdies coming down the stretch but a couple of bogeys too so it was a bit of an up-and-down finish.

“Onto the weekend and looking for a couple of low ones.

“Six is leading so I’ll try and go as low as I can the last two days and see where I’m at on Sunday afternoon.”

Smylie and Josh Armstrong (69) were the only players to break 70 in the morning groups while Perth’s Cooper Geddes has made two early birdies to be outright second at four-under.

Headlines at a glance