Date: November 28, 2004

Lonard Makes Presence Felt

By Robert Grant Defending champion Peter Lonard has opened up a late bid for back-to-back Australian Open titles. Lonard made his move early in the back nine as major rivals Rod Pampling and Richard Green struggled to earn a break on the field. After a string of 10 straight pars Lonard pounced on birdies at the 11th and 12th holes to swoop to two under par. With players sweltering in 39c degree conditions, just three were under the card midway through the round. Lonard and Green were battling for an edge at two under par and one ahead of Pampling who shed four shots on the front nine. Unheralded Victorian amateur Alistair Presnell fired the best round of the day, a three under par 68 to be level after four rounds. Presnell, 25, is a former leading amateur who has played in Asia this season after turning pro last year. He finished fourth in his first pro event, the Myanmar Open, but was preparing to return to Hong Kong this week to protect his position on the money list. Former Open champion Stuart Appleby continued to figure on the leader board but was struggling to mount any significant challenge. Appleby was square with the card while fellow Victorian Robert Allenby was struggling at two over par.