In-form Tasmanian Simon Hawkes has swooped on the Horizon Golf NZ PGA Championship lead after the second round.
Teeing off in the afternoon field at Manawatu Golf Club, Hawkes knew that going low was the only option in the perfect scoring conditions.
Hawkes, who completed a PGA traineeship at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club, fired a seven-under-par 64, the equal best round of the day to take the outright lead after two rounds.
“I woke up this morning, looked outside and saw there was no wind so I knew that guys would be running up the leader board after us,” said Hawkes, who is 13 under after two days.
“For us in the afternoon, it was a little less windy than we had yesterday morning so it did make the course feel a little bit easier. I just tried to do the same thing I did yesterday and I just happened to go one better.
“I'm really comfortable on the greens here. They're almost identical to my home club.”
Hawkes claimed the lead from his playing partner Ben Campbell, who fired a 66 to trail by one shot.
“Ben has been great to play with over the last two days. It's always good to be playing with someone who is in form as well,” Hawkes said.
“It just pushes the vibe of the group up if everybody's making birdies, you get dragged along.
“I just happened to hole a couple more than he did today and it could go the other way tomorrow.”
Having won his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament at the start of the month at the Oates Vic Open, Hawkes is not fazed about upsetting the local crowds if he were to claim the title from a New Zealander.
“It kind of felt a little bit like that out there today with some rounds of applause,” Hawkes said.
“But it's not going to bother me, I'm just going to stick to what I've been doing the last two days and hopefully that's good enough.”
Campbell, who finished runner-up at the NZ PGA Championship in 2017, headed straight to the range after his round to iron out some swing issues before the weekend rounds.
“I started off really nicely; I was 4-under through nine and was playing really well,” said Campbell, whose score card featured six birdies and a bogey.
“I just kind of lost my swing a little bit there but I knew exactly what it was. I'll go do a little practice now.”
Sitting three shots back from Campbell and rounding out the top five on the leaderboard are Deyen Lawson (VIC), Jack Munro (QLD), Matthew Millar (ACT), Jordan Zunic (NSW) and New Zealander David Smail who also recorded a second-round 64.