Gritty South Australian Max McCardle and experienced Kiwi Mark Brown are poised to challenge the young guns who dominated second round play at the Isuzu Queensland Open.
Victorian 20-year olds Lucas Herbert (68-68) and amateur Brett Coletta (67-69) take a one stroke lead over McCardle and Brown into Saturday’s third round at The Brisbane Golf Club.
McCardle, 31, shot a four-under 68 in difficult afternoon conditions as stiff breezes and slick greens made low scoring difficult.
“It was a real grind out there,” he said. “It was hard to get the ball close to the hole and good to shoot under-par this afternoon and make some ground on the field.
“It’s going to be a matter of staying in touch and running down those young kids.”
New Zealander Brown, 41, is a perennial contender although he does not play a great deal of tournament golf these days. As a former Johnnie Walker Classic champion he has the steely resolve to handle any conditions or situation the weekend presents.
He followed his opening 68 with a 69 yesterday as many in the field went backwards.
The Brisbane Golf Club is proving a challenging test with only eight players under-par after 36 holes.
The cut was made at 5-over par, indicative of the difficulty of the course. Fifty-one professionals and 12 amateurs will contest weekend play.
Within two shots of the lead at two-under are Queenslanders Aaron pike (68-70) and amateur Anthony Quayle (70-68) and New South Welshman Adam Stephens (68-70) who shared the lead at one point today before dropping shots.
Overnight leader, Deyen “Digger” Lawson (NSW), followed his first round 65 with a 74 to be one-under the card.
Gold Coaster Ray Beaufils made the cut at 3-over after the ultimate roller-coaster round.
Beaufils made a 10 on the testing 435m, par-4, 9th hole, but followed with six birdies for a final 71.
Teenage Brisbane amateur Zac Maxwell, 16, who pre-qualified for the event deservedly made the cut after rounds of 73-72.
Defending champion David Bransdon (74-76) and former Australian PGA champion Daniel Popovic (74-73) were prominent players to miss the cut.
4-under: L Herbert (Vic), B Coletta (am Vic)
3-under: M McCardle (SA), M Brown (NZ)
2-under: A Stephens (NSW), A Pike (Qld), A Quayle (am Qld)
1-under: D Lawson (NSW)
Even: S Jones (Vic), D Brandt-Richards (NSW), N Gillespie (NZ), B Moules (SA)