Date: April 05, 2019
Author: David Greenhill

Porter, Hughes on top in NT

Hot scoring continued in the Red Centre during the second round of the 2019 Northern Territory Amateur Championship at the Alice Springs Golf Club today.

Queensland teenager Cassie Porter, a member at Peregian on the Sunshine Coast, locked in a stranglehold on the women’s title after a five-under 68 – including an eagle at the par-five second for the second consecutive day – plus six other birdies.

With an eight-under total of 138, the 16-year-old defending champion leads by a whopping seven strokes from The Australian Golf Club’s Stefanie Hall at the halfway mark.

Women’s round of the day and new Alice Springs course record went to Kelsey Bennett, of St Michaels, with a seven-under par round of 66.

After an 80 on the opening day, Bennett scorched around the back nine in just 30 strokes to move back to even par overall and third place.

Pondering post-round on the difference between her first and second days around the Peter Thomson-designed layout, Bennett said: “I was just so relaxed today. It was great playing with Cassie (Porter) and Stef (Vogel) and we just chatted about non-golf stuff all day.

“Nan in Sydney will be so excited, though,” said the clearly pleased 19-year-old, originally from Mollymook on the NSW South Coast.

A day after clubmate Alex Brennan led the men’s championship, another Alice Springs member, Jake Hughes, move into the lead thanks to a bogey-free 67.

Hughes, an NT representative who’s now based in Melbourne and plays at Kingston Heath, is on eight-under 136 after 36 holes, two strokes clear of Sydnye’s John Lyras, who fired a 70 to sit at 138.

Glenelg’s Ben Layton and Zach Maxwell from Royal Queensland share third place at four under and remain well in the hunt with two rounds to go.

A winner of the South Australian Amateur in 2017, Hughes, 24, is yet to win his home amateur title.

“It’s a big ambition for me,” he said after his round.

“I’ve previously won the NT Close section of this event, but not the main title.”

With a previous personal best score of eight-under around his original home course, Hughes was especially pleased with his second-day effort.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a bogey-free round anywhere, so to shoot 67 like that in this event was really pleasing.”

The third round of the NT Amateur, first played in 1970, continues on Saturday from 7am (Australian Central Standard Time).