Former winner Peter Lonard is halfway to keeping up his biannual sequence of championship victories at the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship after a sparkling 65 in Coolum. Lonard, the 2002 and 2004 winner, sank four successive birdies to close his back nine on 31 and finish on seven-under-par for his round and 11-under for the tournament. That puts him one shot clear of a four-way tie for second place between reigning New Zealand Open champion Nathan Green, South Australian Wade Ormsby, New South Welshman Paul Gow and Queensland&aposs Rod Pampling. Pampling&aposs late rally almost took him all the way to a share of the lead but he was fractions away from sinking his 16th birdie of the competition on the final hole to finish with two 67s. “I was struggling a bit early. It wasn&apost the same contact as I had yesterday,” Pampling said. “But towards the end I started to feel comfortable over the ball again. That chip-in (on 11) helped and I made a good putt on the next. After that they kept going in thankfully.” Meanwhile, Green, who tied for third at the Australian PGA last year, shot nine birdies to card the round of the day at eight-under and admitted that his stroke play had improved from day one. “I didn t feel overly confident because I didn&apost play great yesterday,” he said. “But I came out today and made one over the back edge of the 11 and from then on just putted really well.” “I only had a bogey on 13 where I kissed the green left but my short game was really good. I had three chip-ins and two of them were from ordinary spots.” Gow wasn&apost far behind with confident 65 to back-up his 69 yesterday while Ormsby, who tied for second behind Green at the NZ Open, carded 66 after five consecutive birdies between holes two and six on the back nine. Behind that second-placed quartet, early morning leader Peter O&aposMalley finished on minus nine and was later joined by Western Australian Nick O&aposHern. Queenslander Michael Wright was thought to have also been in the chasing pack at nine-under before owning up to an error on the official scoreboard and having his score on the 13th corrected from birdie to par. Wright, who also carded a creditable four-under-par 68 on day one, is in a group of five players tied on minus eight alongside Steven Jeffress, Kiwi David Smail and Queenslander Anthony Gilligan New Zealander Brad Iles completes those tied in eighth position although admitted afterwards that he feels he is enjoying only mixed fortunes this year. “It was a bit disappointing that I finished 61st on the Asian Tour and the top 60 get their full card. I&aposm still recovering from the disappointment of that,” Wright revealed. “But overall it&aposs been pretty good. I&aposve felt like my game&aposs been getting better every year. I certainly look at it that if I continue to get my game together a little bit every year then it will all work out.” Overnight leader James Nitties finished at two-over for the day after tabling just one birdie and three bogeys on the course he loves so much but remains in contention on minus six along with one of the pre-tournament favourites Stuart Appleby. Meanwhile, Australian number one Adam Scott sunk seven birdies to bounce back from disappointing 72 on day one and post five-under for the championship alongside fellow big guns Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy. The cut score was a one-under-par 143 meaning Nick Flanagan and Andrew Buckle missed out while a disastrous result for local product Scott Hend saw him fail to make the cut after three double-bogeys and three bogeys in a seven-over 79.
Author: Marc Fox