Date: February 06, 2009
Author: Sportal

Hickmott in front at halfway point

Home-town hero Luke Hickmott holds a two shot lead heading into the third round of the Victorian PGA Championships at Sanctuary Lakes. Hickmott s three shot overnight lead was reduced by one as Alistair Presnell, Andrew Bonhomme and Stuart Bouvier all moved to 11 under on Friday. Presnell was the standout with an eight-under-par 64 while Bonhomme shot a four-under 68 and Bouvier a 67. Hickmott found the going a little tougher compared to his opening round when he broke the course record by two shots after firing a sizzling 11-under-par 61. I felt like I had about 80 today after yesterday, said Hickmott, who shot four birdies and two bogeys. We were really lucky with the conditions until we got to 16 and then the wind picked up. Those last three holes are definitely harder on the course in these wind conditions so it just made it a little tougher. I didn t play so great but I was happy to get away with a couple under. I guess my putting on the back nine kept me in the round. A professional for five years, Hickmott is gunning for his first four-round win and will be playing with good mate Presnell who shot a bogey-free eight under on Friday. The pair will be hoping to improve on the last round they played together at the 2007 Australian Masters. Tied in 13th place at the half way mark Hickmott shot a three-over 75 and Presnell a 79 to fall to T42 and T65 respectively at the end of the third day. That was a day we both wanted to forget quickly because we both played really poorly, but it will be fun to play together, we get along really well, Hickmott said. Presnell was quick to agree. I was looking forward to playing with Luke in the Masters. I played a horrid front nine and I brought him down on the back nine, he said. If we perform a little better than last time it will be happy times! Presnell s unblemished round came after shooting a 63 in a club competition at Huntingdale on Wednesday. I m very happy, four under either side in windy conditions I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. He credited the recent work he has done with coach Darren Cole (also Hickmott s coach) for his improvement. The ball striking I have been working on with my coach is finally showing and it s nice, he said. Having distance control was the main thing today. It gave me a lot of opportunities for birdies. I birdied four par fives and two of the par threes which to me showed I was playing well. Stuart Bouvier, also tied for second place, will be teeing off alongside Ryan Haywood who shot two under to sit in fifth place on 10 under. Andre Stolz who was five under after the morning round is one of four players alongside West Australian Stephen Dartnall, Victorian Scott Laycock and New South Welshman Matthew Ecob who are tied for sixth place on nine under. Fifty professionals and one amateur Bryden MacPherson made the cut which finished at four under. MacPherson completed his second round at minus six after rounds of 70 and 68, fairing better than many of the big names at the event.