Victorian young guns Lucas Herbert and amateur Brett Coletta lead the Isuzu Queensland Open into the weekend at Brisbane Golf Club.
At 4-under the card, Herbert and Coletta are leading the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament after the carded second rounds of 2-under and 1-under respectively.
A creative player on course, Herbert’s round featured an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys.
“I’m not the longest guy out here, but probably longer than average, so I like to take driver off the tee as much as I can. It’s probably a strength of mine,” said Herbert.
“I just try to find little spots that maybe the rest of the field won’t play as well as me. I think a lot of the time that comes off as aggressive.
“Maybe 80 per cent of the time I pull it off, then other 20 per cent of the time if looks quite stupid.
“It’s always good fun though and I like to think I’m at least an entertaining person to watch,” added Herbert, whose typical style of play was on display with a brilliant par save on the 18th.
“I hit driver trying to get the ball up onto the left side of the fairway. I blocked it into the trees and I had to try and work it right to left which is pretty hard from 60m out.
“Unfortunately it caught a tree branch which knocked me back onto the 1st fairway. I think I was 20-30m longer for my third shot.
“I didn’t have a yardage but I threw it up onto the green to about 15 feet and knocked it in. It was one of those putts that kept the round going.”
In his second year as a Professional, Herbert’s passion for the game is strong with the hard work he has been putting in, paying dividends.
“I had a bad patch last year and even at the start of this year. Mentally there were a lot of things that had to happen for me to turn it around. I missed a cut at the New Zealand Open which was the turning point,” added Herbert.
“For 18 months when I went to practice it felt like work, it wasn’t enjoyable anymore but I have re-found that passion for the game.
“Setting some goals has helped, and knowing if I practice hard I can get there. Before that I didn’t have any solid goals to work towards, I was just trying to get better every day which is good in theory but it didn’t quite work.”
“It would be great to win, but at this point, I am still learning a lot playing around these Queensland golf courses so I just want to learn a lot from this week.”
Also learning a lot recently is amateur Coletta who has come into the Isuzu Queensland Open from a near miss at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
The 20-year-old finished runner-up to Curtis Luck, missing a place at the 2017 Masters Tournament by one shot.
“Last week was a bit of a disappointment, but I have come here to put my best foot forward. To be leading is very good. I am happy,” said Coletta.
“The Asia-Pacific Amateur was such a good opportunity; it’s something that money can’t buy. To have the feelings you get when you are playing under that heat is nothing you will ever experience unless you are in the moment.
“If I look at it that way, it’s a positive and a good experience, but it still burns and stings.”
The learning experience is already paying off with Coletta in contention in just his seventh time competing on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia as an amateur.
“I am putting my name up there again and hopefully tomorrow I am in the lead group, it’s another good experience,” added Coletta.
“The experience is second to none playing in Pro events. You get out here and you’re playing against the best in the country.
“To be here, where I am, and tied for the lead is so reassuring to me; to know that I can come out here and compete against the Pros.”
Herbert and Coletta hold a one-shot lead over South Australian Max McCardle who fired 2-under 68 today and New Zealander Mark Brown who had 1-under the card.
Finishing the second round on 2-under the card and rounding out the top-5 on the leaderboard are amateur Anthony Quayle (QLD), Aaron Pike (QLD) and Adam Stephens (NSW).
The highlight of the day belonged to New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos who aced the par-3 4th hole at Brisbane Golf Club using his 9 iron.
The second round cut at the Isuzu Queensland Open was made at 5-over the card with 51 Professionals and 12 amateurs making it through to the weekend rounds.
The third round of the Isuzu Queensland Open tees of at Brisbane Golf Club at 9.10am with the lead group of Lucas Herbert, Brett Coletta and Mark Brown on course at 10.50am.