Brett Rumford and the mercury soared this afternoon at Lake Karrinyup Country Club as the Perth native joined the lead with a masterful second round of 65 at the ISPS Handa Perth International.
With Peter Uihlein streets ahead on 11-under par as the afternoon groups teed off, it seemed improbable that anyone would challenge his lead, let alone join it.
But Rumford made up the seven shot deficit by going 7-under for the day with eight birdies and just one bogey.
Pre-tournament favourite Louis Oosthuizen was even more impressive as the temperature rose to 37 degrees. On 18, Oosthuizen was staring down a four foot birdie putt that would tie the lead and equal the Lake Karrinyup course record of 63. Instead the South African over-read his putt in the shadows, and he settled for an 8-under 64 that included five birdies from his last seven holes.
For Rumford, the biggest challenge was battling the heat and the long wait in between shots from playing in a two ball with Peter Senior..
“It was a tough day. The back nine was tough and the greens got baked which makes things tricky,” said Rumford in the press conference.
“It was hot. There was a lot of waiting for me and Peter, but we kept each other company.
“It was a really long and drawn out day, taking shelter in the shade and just waiting. When you’re playing well it’s kind of annoying and you just want to get things going and keep the momentum rolling."
Rumford was again the centre of attention for Perth’s passionate golf fans, earning the loudest roar of the day when he nerly holed out from the greenside bunker on 18.
“It was pretty cool, hopefully I can keep those roars rolling,” said Rumford.
“It’s great to be back here playing. I’ve got my girls here, family and friends and cycling buddies out here. It’s great to feed off their energy.”
But Rumford isn’t the only Australian in contention, with five other Australians in the top 10.
On 9-under, Rhein Gibson moved back to fourth with Rumford and Oostheizen overtaking him in the afternoon, while Mandurah local Jason Scrivener is fifth on 8-under on the back of his second round 67.
Eleven golfers sit on 5-under par in a tie for 8th, including Aussies Todd Sinnott, David Bransdon and Scott Arnold.