Date: November 17, 2017
Author: Roy Fleming

Bigger, better and just like Texas

Kramer Hickok has moved into a share of the lead at the NSW Open with back to back six-under-par 66s punctuating his first two rounds during his maiden trip to Australia.

The 25-year-old shares the Dallas, Texas, home of three-time major winner and fellow University of Texas colleague, Jordan Spieth – and perhaps some of Spieth’s magic on Australian golf courses is beginning to rub off.

With just one bogey and 13 birdies through his first 36 holes, Hickok was asked what teachings he had gleaned from Spieth before his inaugural visit.


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He said his housemate had given him advice for the Australian Open, not Twin Creeks – based around hitting longer bunker shots than usual.

“The bunkers are different here, everything goes down to the centre (of the trap),” he said.

“Sometimes you’ll have that 20-30 yard bunker shot. In the States we don’t have that very often. So I’ve been working on those 30-40 yard spinners.”

Hickok said the belief in his own game and the quality if the course were significant in his first two rounds.

“I felt like I hit it a little better than yesterday. I’m limiting the mistakes, so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.

“This (course) reminds me of home. It’s very similar to Texas, the typography, the grass and the weather, so I’m right at home.

“These are probably the best greens I have putted on in the last five years. These greens are so good; they are so pure.

"It’s one of those deals where if you have an eight-footer and you miss it, it’s on you.

“It’s unbelievably nice to be able to play on greens that are quick and firm like this. They are only going to get firmer as the week goes on. I’m looking forward to playing on them again. It’s just nice to hit a good putt and have it go in.”

“I know I’m playing well when I score a lot better than I felt I played.”

Sharing the clubhouse lead with the Texan is West Australian Jarryd Felton, who finished second in the event last year behind Adam Blyth, and is looking go one further.

The 22-year-old also carded his second consecutive six-under-par round as his excellent form since the Fiji International continues.
“Very happy to be sitting at the top,” he said.

“Fiji gave me the confidence to mix it up with the big boys in the big events. I struggled last week in Europe, and it’s good to find form here leading into the big summer events.

“I had 21-under and lost last year if I shoot 21-under I think I’ll be close. If I lose, then you can’t do much else, but yeah I’m playing well.”

Coletta started poorly but regathered to finish the day where he started, at eight under.

“It was a mistake-fest on the front nine,” the 21-year-old said.

“I made some errors from the get-go. The mistakes were mental errors basically, unforced errors. It was (about) just coming back from those.”

One highlight of the morning’s play came from the group of Coletta, Zach Murray (Am) and veteran Michael Long who shot a combined -7 on the short par five 11th.

Murray and Coletta both eagled the hole, while Long scored an albatross which he needed, with his overall score at -1 and teetering on the cut line.

“We were talking about it. We’d never seen anything like it. We all made that hole look very easy,” Coletta said.