Terry Pilkadaris posted his second consecutive round of 64 to sit alone atop the leaderboard at 15 under.
Pilkadaris – a three-time winner on the Asian Tour – is one shot clear of overnight co-leader Daniel Nisbet and New South Welshman Callan O’Reilly who fired a blistering course record of 11-under-par 61 on The Hills course.
Beginning on the 10th hole, Pilkadaris had fortune on his side on Friday.
He mixed 9 birdies with a lone bogey at the par-4 12th and, remarkably, had two straight chip-ins for birdie on the 7th and 8th holes.
“I was just following Jamie Arnold actually, he got off to a really good start and I tried to keep the momentum,” said Pilkadaris, whose playing partner Arnold is among a four-way tie for 5th.
This putt to set a new course record at The Hills...
BOOM!!!!! @CalOreillyGolf nails it! 28 on the back-9...11-under 61!March 2, 2018
“I didn’t know how many under I was going but I was just sort of plugging away. I saw the flag, fire at it, and see what happens.”
The 44-year-old Victorian has never won on the PGA Tour of Australasia and said he didn’t touch his clubs for 11 days leading into this week in an effort to recharge.
“I was burnt out at the end of last year and the start of this year and after Perth, I didn’t have a good start to the start of the year.”
“I didn’t see the clubs for about 11 days, a little bit of practice late last week and off we go.”
Rookie professional Travis Smyth is alone in 4th at 13 under, following an opening 64 with a 67 on The Hills layout.
Fellow rookie pro Harrison Endycott shares 5th at 12 under alongside Arnold, New Zealand’s Harry Bateman and Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino.
64 players finished at 7 under or better as New Zealand’s two brightest hopes both failed to make the weekend.
Defending champion Michael Hendry finished at 4 under while Ryan Fox fell one shot short of weekend action at 6 under.
SIGNATURE HOLES: 7TH AT BAYVIEW (NSW)
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