Date: April 27, 2018
Author: PGA of Australia

Arnold takes route 66 to the top

Sydney's Scott Arnold fired the day's best round to scoot to the halfway lead at the PNG Open in Port Moresby.

Arnold’s second consecutive 66 at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club left him at 12 under and one stroke clear of local amateur and surprise packet Brian Taikiri.

Arnold said his encore performance was similar to his opening round.

“I started off really good on the front nine again,” said Arnold, who made the turn at five under after an eagle on the ninth hole.

“I missed a short putt on the first for a birdie, but I drove it really well and got really close to some of the par-4s, chipped it up pretty close and made some easy birdies.

“I hit a really good drive down the 9th and hit a lob wedge to about six feet and made eagle there so that was a sort of jump-start.

“But I made a couple of bad swings at the start of the back nine and was just steady really. I wasn’t hitting it close enough like I was on the front nine, so I was happy to get away with shooting one under on the back.”

First-round bolter Taikiri held on to outright second with his round of 70, a fine effort after beginning his round with two bogeys.

“Having that fighting spirit, I always know I can come back on the front nine,” he said.

Taikiri said his knowledge of his home track came in to play as he targeted the front nine to claw back some ground.

“The front nine is the easiest of the two and today the wind can support you whereas on the back you’re going against the wind.

“Having that local knowledge helped a bit, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Following his second round of 67, Tim Stewart sits in a tie for third at nine under, alongside Alex Edge.

Dale Brandt-Richards and Brody Martin round out the top five, both at seven under.

The cut was made at three over with 55 professionals and three amateurs making the weekend rounds.