Friday, 01 December 2017
Day Two Highlights - Australian PGA Championship

Marc Leishman and Adam Bland shared the lead heading into the weekend at the Australian PGA Championship as home favourites continued to dominate the leaderboard at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

Australians held 13 of the top 14 places after day one and they locked out the top six on day two, with defending champion Harold Varner III heading the international charge.

Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia carded a 71 to sit at six under but that was six shots off the lead shared by Bland and Leishman.

World Number 13 Leishman - the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge champion - is the highest ranked home player in the field and he carded a 65 to set the target at 12 under.

Overnight leader Bland joined him with a 66 to sit two shots clear of two-time champion Greg Chalmers and three ahead of Rhein Gibson, Cameron Smith and Jordan Zunic.

American Varner was then at seven under alongside two more Australians in James Nitties and Brett Rankin.

Leishman picked up four shots in his last four holes on Thursday and he carried that momentum into round two with birdies on the tenth and 11th.

A bogey followed on the 12th after finding the water but he birdied the 14th after a stunning tee-shot and eagled the next for the second day in a row from eight feet.

A beautiful approach set up another birdie on the 17th but a bogey on the 18th after finding the trees off the tee saw him turn in 32.

He made anoher birdie on the first, took advantage of the par five third and then put his tee-shot on the fifth to tap-in range before parring his way home.

"There's obviously a long way to go," he said. "Playing in front of friends and family, that's always nice no matter where it is. Here there seems to be more friends and family because it's a bit closer to home.

"I went and watched the Australian PGA for the first time when it was at Victoria. You go there and of course one day you hope you're going to play in it and possibly win it. But if it was to happen, it would be pretty huge."

Bland is playing just his 25th European Tour event but had his two best results last season, finishing third at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth and in a tie for fifth at the Fiji International.

The 35 year old picked up shots on the tenth, 12th and 17th to turn in 33. Further birdies on the third and sixth had him within one of the lead and, while he dropped a shot on the seventh, he bounced back with a birdie-birdie finish.

"It's always great to get off to a flying start but if you can't back it up in the second round or at least be thereabouts, you're kind of just chasing your tail for the rest of the week," he said. "So it was really important to get off to a good start this morning and I seemed to do that, so it was great."

Chalmers carded seven birdies and a single bogey in a 66, while Gibson and Smith signed for rounds of 67 and Zunic carded a 69.

Varner made a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th but dropped a shot on the 18th before finishing with four straight birdies.

Nitties had six birdies and three bogeys in his 69, while Rankin made four birdies with a single dropped shot.

Garcia holed a ten-footer on the fourth and then from 25 feet on the seventh but was soon over par for the day after finding the water on the ninth for a double-bogey and dropping another shot on the tenth.

He holed from the fringe on the 11th, got on the green at the par five 15th in two and then holed a long right-to-lefter on the next to bounce back before bogeying the last.

Dane Joachim B Hansen was also six under alongside last week's winner Wade Ormsby and his fellow Australian, 58 year old Peter Senior.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SMITH, CameronAUS18-18
2ZUNIC, JordanAUS18-18
3BLAND, AdamAUS18-17
T4BRANSDON, DavidAUS18-14
T4LEISHMAN, MarcAUS18-14
6VARNER III, HaroldUSA18-12

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