None of the Australian quartet chasing countryman Blake Windred have hit top gear at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship… yet.
New South Welshman Windred will sleep one a one-shot halfway lead at 10-under but Jack Thompson, Nathan Barbieri and Karl Vilips are in the red numbers through two days and look poised to make a move on the weekend.
Meanwhile, sudden breaks in momentum continued to halt Dave Micheluzzi on Friday in what could be his last start as an amateur.
Thompson is the best placed of the chasing pack, currently at 3-under for the tournament after a disastrous start on Thursday.
After three bogeys in his opening five holes, the South Australian 21-year-old has played the next 31 holes in 6-under to be seven back of the outright leader.
“Everything’s just been a bit good, but not great,” The Grange member said.
“I’m just not hitting it close enough, I’d hit it to 20 feet and you’re happy if you two-putt, but at the same time it’s a bit disappointing.”
World No.45 Vilips has also struggled to piece his powerful game together, the West Australian signing for a 2-under 70 on Friday that left him less than satisfied.
The 18-year-old is at 1-under for the week but a frustrating Friday back nine held the rising star back.
“The whole back nine I struggled to see a putt go in,” Vilips said.
“Everything was burning the edge or lipping and it was really frustrating.
“If the putts fall one day, I feel like I have a really low one in me.”
What They Said… Thompson, Barbieri, Micheluzzi & Vilips after round two
Also at 1-under through 36 holes is Monash CC’s Barbieri, the 22-year-old losing control in the middle of his second round that undid a lot of Thursday’s good work.
After a birdie at the brutal par-5 8th, Barbieri was 4-under for the week and ready to charge his way onto the first page of the leaderboard.
But four bogeys in the following seven holes pulled him back to the field, Barbieri joining Vilips in a share of 18th at the halfway mark.
“I didn’t really hit many fairways so you can’t score from the rough here, it’s pretty brutal,” Barbieri said.
“The momentum putts didn’t really drop for me.
“I think the wind swirls a lot more [in the afternoon], it almost felt like a majority of the holes were into the wind.”
Just as a triple-bogey derailed him on Thursday on his way to a 72, two shots into penalty areas on 17 and 18 late on Friday afternoon have crippled World No.4 Micheluzzi.
After holing out from off the green below the par-3 12th, the Victorian notched his fifth birdie of the day on the 16th that had him back at even-par for the tournament through 34 holes.
But a loose swing drifted right off the par-3 17th tee, as did his approach into the water-guarded 18th green.
Micheluzzi finished bogey, double-bogey to be back at 3-over for the week and staring down the start of his professional career.
“I played very well for the first 16 holes and then the last two holes I hit it in the hazard twice and just ruined the score a little bit,” Micheluzzi said.
“Yesterday was just one bad hole and today was one bad hole as well, so that’s five shots that could have easily been taken off.”
“There’s really nothing to lose because if I don’t win, I turn pro, so I’ll give it all.”
Meanwhile, Shepparton’s Kyle Michel had a horror finish on Friday morning, playing his second nine (Sheshan’s first) in 43 and without recording a par.
Also on the verge of turning professional in time for the second stage of European Tour Q-School, Michel signed for a 78 that led to a nervous afternoon, the Victorian eventually making the cut on the number at +9.
Watch Blake Windred's Friday press conference