Date: December 12, 2008
Author: Adam Lucius at Royal Sydney

Porter back in the game

Nobody has to explain the vagaries of life on the professional golf tour to Ewan Porter after a year from hell in which only the start and end has offered any sort of respite. The 26-year-old from Cronulla in Sydney&aposs south is in love with the game again after rounds of 65 and 71 put him outright third at six under after two rounds at a rain-drenched Royal Sydney. The lead-in to his national championship has been anything but smooth, with Porter making just five cuts from 22 starts and earning a pittance on the unforgiving second-tier US Nationwide Tour. He missed 11 cuts straight before returning to the comforts of home after living a nomadic existence in the States. That&aposs after the year started with the promise of great things a win and the accompanying $US150,000 pay cheque from the Moonah Classic seemingly setting him up for the year. No wonder he was scratching his head after entering the Australia Open media tent for the second day running. “I am very happy with the position I&aposm in (because) coming in here I&aposve been playing dreadful,” said Porter, who was supported over the second round by a gallery of 20 soaked mates, including Test cricketer Phil Jaques. “I think it&aposs helped knowing the course and having a lot of friends out here.” “And the weather&aposs so ordinary that it keeps you focused on staying dry rather than what&aposs ahead and I think that helped me today.” But while he is again enamoured with the game, Porter and golf will go their separate ways after the Australian Open. They need a break after a testy relationship in &apos08. “I can t wait for this tournament to end not in a bad way – so I can have a month&aposs spell, a month&aposs holiday,” he said. “I don t know where I&aposm going to go but I&aposm just looking forward to putting the clubs in the garage and locking them up and throwing away the key for a month.” “I had no status anywhere at the start of the year but once I won at Moonah I was thrust into the spotlight.” “I found the going tough but the pressure was definitely self-inflicted.” “I told myself that you&aposll never get an opportunity like the one presented to me by winning that tournament, which in hindsight was pretty silly thinking.” “This year has been a huge learning experience.” Meanwhile, Australian Open leader Stephen Dartnall says his best is yet to come after putting together the finest two rounds of his short professional career. The Western Australian, who is sponsor-less apart from an equipment deal with Titleist, followed up his first-round 65 with a four under 68 in persistent rain at Royal Sydney. His round, which contained six birdies and two bogeys, was enough to give him the overnight lead for the second day running as conditions worsened for the afternoon group. “I feel I&aposve been playing really well (but) the good thing is I haven&apost got everything out of both the rounds, so there&aposs still room for improvement,” he said. “I&aposve played fantastic and I&aposm really happy with the way it&aposs gone.” Dartnall may be unaccustomed to fronting the media two days straight as tournament leader an honour he shared with Porter and Matt Goggin after the first round but he is taking all the attention in his stride. “I had a lot of calls from friends (after day one) then had some dinner, went to bed and woke up and started playing again,” he said. “Obviously you know what position you&aposre in but you try and take it like any other tournament.”