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Droop aces way to share of NT PGA lead

(Photo: PGA of Australia)
The young guns are firing at the NT PGA in Darwin, an amateur and a PGA Trainee out in front heading to the weekend at Palmerston Golf Club.

US Amateur quarter-finalist Travis Smyth and Yarrawonga trainee professional Frazer Droop are at 10-under through 36 holes, two shots clear of Victoria’s Deyen Lawson and three ahead of a group of three players including defending champion Jordan Zunic.

It was double delight for Droop who not only shares the halfway lead but posted an ace at the par-3 7th which was offering one million Qantas points.

South Australian Adrian Percey managed the same feat later in the day, the pair set to share the windfall.

While Droop‘s heroics stole the show it was Smyth who impressed by backing up a blistering 7-under on day one.

The 22-year-old from Wollongong was out early on day two and didn’t waste any time getting to double digits under par with a third birdie of the day at the 9th.

He showed his class on the inward journey with a birdie and a bogey to finish with 68.

“I played very solid again today, I am very happy with the way that I am hitting it and my short game as well," he said after his round.

"I felt like I hit more good shots today than yesterday and I had only 3-under today and seven yesterday.

"I started on the front-9 and turned in 3-under. I was feeling really good. It is a little tricky on the back-9, you have to hit really straight off the tee and into the right spots to attack the flags.”

He said he had to fight hard to stay in it over the closing stages after some loose shots.

“A couple of times I was a little out of position and a little in the rough; it made it really hard but all in all I am pretty happy with the way I played," he said.

"I am just out here trying to play golf so whether that is coming first, second, third or even last it doesn’t really bother me.

“I am just trying to enjoy myself, play some good golf and whatever it is at the end of the week so be it."

For Droop the heroics of the 7th overshadowed a brilliant round, his course record 63 including seven birdies and the ace as well as a dropped shot at the 8th.

"It’s nice to equal a course record, that’s my first time doing it,” the ecstatic 19-year-old said.

"I was 2-under before I had the hole-in-one and that kind of got me rolling, I was 4-under through the turn and was hoping for a few birdies, not expecting too much.

"But I ended up playing the back-9 great and having 4-under through there as well, so no complaints at all."

"It’s not often you see your name up there in a state PGA and it’s my first state PGA, so to see my name up there with my good mate Travis Smyth is great fun."

Defending champion Jordan Zunic kept himself well in the hunt with a brilliant second nine after going to the turn 1-over.

Five birdies saw him sign for 67 and at three off the pace is in good shape heading to the weekend.

Darren Beck and Max McCardle are at the same mark, Michael Long, Taylor Macdonald and Lincoln Tighe rounding out the top 10 at 6-under.


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