Vernon Sexton-Finck has moved to a four-shot lead in the penultimate round of the PGA Professionals Championship at Hamilton Island Golf Club.
The West Australian’s round two total of 70 has him 3-under the card, as Jamie Hook (1-over), Scott Laycock and Josh Lane (3-over) remain in contention.
After battling through the back-nine in yesterday’s opening round, Sexton-Finck had no quarrels negotiating the notorious final stretch this morning to make the turn in 3-under.
It was the front-nine that proved the biggest test with the 31-year-old faltering with two bogeys and a double bogey, as the blustery conditions took hold.
“It wasn’t quite as challenging as yesterday. We were lucky to tee off early in the first group so the wind didn’t really pick up until our 7th or 8th hole,” Sexton-Finck said.
“I took advantage early and just lost it a little towards the end so I’m disappointed I guess. The front-nine is a little bit easier than the back-nine I think and I was just losing shots again towards the end.
“At the end of the day if you said I was first and leading by four then I’d take that for sure so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Despite recording two strong rounds of 69 and 70 ahead of the final round, Sexton-Finck says the natural beauty of the golf course can be deceiving.
“It’s a nice little buffer but it’s very small around here. Things can turn pretty quickly and I’ve just got to stick to my game plan tomorrow, keep doing what I’m doing and if things work out then they work out but if they don’t, then so be it,” he said.
“Around here you’ve got to putt well, you’ve certainly got to hit your tee shots well. It’s just that course that you can’t come here with a weakness and expect to perform well.”
Consistency over 36 holes has earned Jamie Hook a place in the top two of the leaderboard.
Hook’s rounds of 72 and 71 for a 1-over total see him two shots ahead of Laycock and Lane in third place and well within reach of the Dan Cullen Cup.
“I played well yesterday and just tried to keep it in play. I stuck to what I wanted to do and managed to do that,” Hook said.
“I’m just going to do the same thing and hopefully some putts will keep going in. Four back around here is still four back but a couple of birdies and hopefully I can get up there.”
The PGA Professionals Championship is played for a total prize pool of $55,000. The winner and second place getter each receive a place in the 2019 Australian PGA Championship field.
The leading group of Vernon Sexton-Finck, Jamie Hook and Scott Laycock will tee off at 9:05am.
For the full leaderboard, visit pga.org.au.
For round three tee times, visit pga.org.au.