Round 2 reaction: TPS Victoria - PGA of Australia

Round 2 reaction: TPS Victoria

Tournament host Geoff Ogilvy takes the 36-hole lead for the first time since the 2010 Australian Open, two veterans make a move in the morning wave and two rookie prospects prepare to feature prominently over the weekend.

Geoff Ogilvy (8-under, 70)

On his second round of 1-under 70

“It was just a normal reasonably decent round where the putts didn’t go in like they did yesterday. It was fine. I had putts that ran over the hole and didn’t run into the hole. They weren’t bad putts but they didn’t get to cut the greens yesterday because of the wind and today they had inches of rain on them so by the end of the day they’re just a bit weathered. But I played with Elvis Smylie today and he made a lot of putts. Some days they go in, some days they don’t.”

On momentum from a birdie at the par-3 seventh

“That was a good putt actually. That was 4-iron to 20 feet maybe and made a good putt. Every time you see a putt go in it puts you in a better mood and you feel like a better golfer and feel like everything is going your way. I’ve played golf for long enough to know that yesterday was a day out on the greens for me and today was probably slightly under how you would like it to be. It’s fine, I’m in a good spot for the weekend and when I was driving down this morning it didn’t look like we were going to play any golf this afternoon. Pretty miraculous we’re going to get the cut done on Friday after the weather today.”

On last time he held the 36-hole lead at 2010 Australian Open

“I’m sure if that’s what you found that’s probably what it was. I can’t remember to be honest. That could be true, I’m not sure. The competitive juices turn on a little bit when you turn up to a golf tournament. There are a lot of guys here who I’ve played a lot of golf tournaments with over the years and they turn on straight away. But as all tournaments go, Thursday morning is somewhat relaxed as competitors and then as you get closer and closer to the 18th green on Sunday, if you’re still in the mix they build and build and build. Tomorrow will feel pretty good going out in the last group and then hopefully we can do the same thing on Sunday.”

On early impressions of David Micheluzzi

“He was towelling me up by a mile a couple of years ago. Great player and it’s great to see these players in the mix. This is what this tournament is for, to get these guys in the mix of these tournaments where it’s a slightly smaller intimidation level so when they do get there in an Australian Open or go overseas in the big tournaments they’ve got some late weekends under their belts. He’s a great athlete. He moves his body really well and he’s not afraid to go really low. That’s the first thing I noticed. He makes a lot of putts, 20-foot birdie putts which are really handy and he’s just up and about. He looks like he really wants to be good. Everybody obviously wants to be good but some guys look like it more than others and he looks like that sort of guy.”

On seeing Stephanie Bunque prominent on the leaderboard

“That’s great. This is her first tournament as a pro so that’s exciting for her. That’s the point. That’s what we were hoping for. It’s great for her, it’s going to be a really good experience for her, clearly shows that she’s got what it takes to play at the higher level. This is her first time playing for a cheque so that’s a difficult thing for people and to be top five or six in a tournament like this after two days with guys around… it’s a different environment for everyone so to be playing well, that’s awesome. I’ll be sending her a text tonight for sure. Exactly what we wanted. Exactly the spirit of the tournament. She hits the ball really well, she hits the ball far, really good driver of the ball. Enthusiasm for the game. She’s at Victoria Golf Club a lot which is a nice feeling for me because that’s where I learnt a lot of my golf.”

David Micheluzzi (7-under, 67)

On his second round of 4-under 67

“I definitely ball-striked it a lot better today. With the afternoon tee time the body felt a little bit looser. We had a rain delay for an hour-10 so just had a bit more time stretching and going through the course, seeing where the pins were. The first nine was the best I’ve hit it in months. I felt like I was going at every pin and was landing it close to every pin but because of the rain everything was spinning back. I hit everything on the first six holes inside 15 feet and only holed one of them. The putter was a bit cold but then it changed on the back nine. I started not hitting it as great but holing a few more putts and then on 15 I hit it way right into some tea-tree. Luckily I found it and made six and then I had a par 5 and a short par 4 coming up and I finished eagle-par-birdie. It was a good way to finish after a pretty good day of ball-striking.”

On the eagle at 16 and birdie at 18

“I hit 8-iron into about 20 feet. I actually hit a pretty decent drive there. It carried a bunker that was about 275 metres and it was around 40 past that. Maybe around 310-315. It was downwind and a little bit downhill after the bunker. It was in the rough so I took a club less and hit it to 20 feet and made the putt finally. Me and my caddie were quite happy. I hit a very average 5-iron off the tee at 18 and had about 170 in to a back pin and I hit a pretty decent 6-iron from that length. I haven’t holed a big one in a while so it was nice to see that one drop from about 30 feet.”

On his relationship with Geoff Ogilvy

“I’ve gotten to now Geoff quite well. Just before I turned pro we played quite a bit of social golf and I played with him also at Vic Open. Always good to chat to him and get his views on things. If I get to play with him tomorrow it will be an awesome day. Hopefully like a Saturday comp at ‘Cranny’ (Cranbourne Golf Club). I’ve asked him a couple of things of advice when I was an amateur turning pro but now it’s like a friendship. We talk about anything which is pretty cool, every time we get to catch up and play. It’s more of a friendship than anything and any time I get to play with him it’s always a good battle because he’s a very good competitor. Obviously won the US Open and three WGC events. Always good to see what I’m like around a player of his calibre.

On getting the better of Ogilvy early on

“Early on I did, twice. He thought I was ridiculous because I went 9-under, 9-under playing with him. Then we played Vic Open and he absolutely kicked my arse by like 24 shots so that was a bit of a different story.”

On fellow Victorian rookie Stephanie Bunque

“She hits it miles. She hits it unreal. When she gets the putter going, that’s when she’s scary. She can really pose a threat to anybody. It will be awesome to see what she can do over the weekend. She’s always hit it far, always had amazing potential so hopefully she does well this week and then onwards for the rest of her career. This would be a pretty good start if she can do well here.”

Stephanie Bunque (6-under, 66)

On being described as ‘scary’ when she putts well

“I’m just hitting it super well that I’m not really giving myself too lengthy of putts. I just knew that if I stayed patient those mid-range putts would fall in. I hit a couple of close ones as well so it all added up in the end.”

On feelings after round one 70

“It was nice to finish in the red yesterday after throwing in a double and a couple of soft bogeys as well. I had in my head that there were definitely a few shots that I left out there and some holes that I can really capitalise on that I failed to yesterday. I feel like I did a pretty good job of that today.”

On the birdie at the par-5 ninth

“Nine was funny, nine was a great birdie. I hit a fade and right in my landing zone is a run-off towards the rough. I’ve hit my fade, it’s hit the side slope and gone up into the rough and got wedged between a twig. I couldn’t move the twig so I had to chop one out there. Ended up running it up greenside, hit an ugly chip and then holed a 15-footer for birdie.”

On making eagle at the par-5 15th

“I hit 3-wood off the tee and I hit 3-iron to five feet. It was probably the best 3-iron I’ve ever hit, didn’t leave the pin.”

On whether her bogey-free round could have been even better

“I definitely feel like I could have gone even lower but I haven’t teed off this late ever so towards the end I could feel myself getting a little bit tired. Towards the end the par putts weren’t tap-ins, they were 3-4 footers so I had to focus the entire way in. I was just really proud of myself for sticking in there and finishing off bogey-free was the icing on the cake.”

On the names she is amongst on the leaderboard

“Scoring as we go on the phone is all new to me and yesterday I got caught up in occasionally looking at the leaderboard and seeing where I stood. Today I told myself not to worry about that and just worry about building the score and making sure I shoot a good enough number. I didn’t look at the leaderboard once all day which I was really happy about but I’ve just had a quick squizz and it’s pretty good company.”

On playing on TV in a featured group in round three

“Obviously it’s all brand new to me so that’s a hard one to answer right now. I feel like if I just stick to my process and stick to my guns and keep following my strategy and staying in the moment, regardless of being in the third last group, regardless of being on TV I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot with myself to continue with what I’m doing and keep the ball rolling.”

David Gleeson (4-under, 67)

On the hour-long rain delay mid-morning

“I was on nine green when we got called off. It rained all morning but I was pretty consistent and played nice. Then when we went back out, loosened up a bit and wasn’t as good but got it around, holed a couple of putts.”

On first start since NT PGA last October

“I just joined as an affiliate member this week. I haven’t been a member for years but given Asia’s not going on I’m going to try and do my bridging course in February, get my Australasian membership back and play a bit of golf at home. I’ve only played 1-2 events in Australia these past few years so I wouldn’t mind getting some kind of card in Australia to make sure I can play the Australian Open and PGA. I’ve only played three or four Opens in my life.”

On how he kept busy at home in Brisbane during COVID

“I really enjoyed being home. There’s a bit of a YouTube challenge happening at home. My 13-year-old’s killing us. He’s got about 6,000 subscribers and my wife and I have got 40. That’s what’s kept us busy.”

On highlights in his round

“I made a birdie on my eighth hole from the trees. That got me going because it’s a pretty strong hole. I blasted a 6-iron out of the trees to about a foot and then we got called off so I finished with a bit of momentum before the rain delay. There are some easy par 5s out here if you hit a good tee shot and I think that’s what the guys were doing yesterday.”

David McKenzie (4-under, 69)

On how the rain delay affected his round

“I was actually playing pretty well. Hit a lot of good shots but didn’t do anything fantastically well. Then the rain did come and I came off the course after making a bogey but then I hit it onto the 16th in two and three-putted for par and then made bogey on 17. I was going back out feeling like I was playing OK but my scores were still just so-so. Then I got on a nice little stretch there through the first to the fourth.”

On gathering momentum early in his back nine

“I hit nice shots into 16 and hit a nice putt for eagle but then missed the little one. At 18 I hit a good shot into 12 or 13 feet and missed that so I’d had a lot of looks at it. If you stay patient and you’re hitting putts that look like they have a chance eventually you’re going to make a few. That was how I was looking at it.”

On closing with two birdies for 69

“Eight was just a tap-in from less than a foot so that was nice and then on nine I thought I’d hit into the greenside bunker and it turned out that it had got onto the green. So I’ve hit two of the par 5s in two, which is not really meant to happen for a guy of my age.”

On playing Rosebud Country Club

“I’m showing my age here but they used to play the Victorian Trainee Championships here in the late 1990s when I was a trainee pro. Obviously everything has changed since it was back then but I always like playing this style of golf course. It’s not a Sandbelt course but it’s a Sandbelt-looking golf course and plays that sort of way. I’m lucky for this one because it’s short-ish, a little bit shorter than I’m used to playing in America that’s for sure.”

On how the course fared after the rain

“It drained off fantastically. The ball was bouncing again and wasn’t ripping as hard on the greens which you thought it might have. The course has held up really well. If it hadn’t rained as heavily we could have kept on going but it just got to that point where the rain was just too heavy for the water to get away. There were one or two holes where they had some bad luck with otherwise we would have still been out there.”

On prospect of returning to the Champions Tour in 2021

“I’ll go over and play as much as I can but having said that, the next event that I’m eligible for is the one-off event in Tucson in the last week of February. I didn’t do too well in quarantine coming home so more than likely I’ll head over there for the Chubb Classic in South Naples in Florida in mid-April. The irony is that I think I’ve got to do 10 days of self isolation quarantine going from Australia to America. Unfortunately I’ll end up staying over there the whole time in North America because it’s not worth coming home and having to pay $3,000 to do two weeks of quarantine, and you have to be home for at least a month to do that. When I go over I’ll end up staying over there for most of the year.”

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