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Leishman and Bland surge ahead at RACV Royal Pines

Leishman watches his tee shot at his 17th hole today. (Photo: Bruce Young)
Marc Leishman and Adam Bland share the morning lead on day two of the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast after respective rounds of 65 and 66 moved the pair to 12 under.

When both finished within 30 minutes of each other at Royal Pines they had opened up a three-shot lead over Cameron Smith and Jordan Zunic.

The soft underfoot conditions and lack of wind created perfect conditions for scoring and Leishman took full advantage.

The Victorian acknowledged that the late-early draw appears to have been the ideal draw for scoring.   

“Looking out the window yesterday morning with all the storms coming through I was pretty happy to be in the room and then we got no rain yesterday afternoon and not much wind," the 34-year-old said.

“Then this morning we had a couple of drops of rain but nothing substantial and very little wind so at this stage it seems that way but we will see how this afternoon pans out."

Leishman's wife, Audrey, had played a key role in convincing Leishman to come to Australia firstly to collect his Greg Norman Medal and play the event and it was a decision he is now delighted with.

“For a lot of reasons (I am happy to have come). It is always awesome to come back to Australia where I grew up. I love the country love everything about it. Obviously this tournament is one I would love to win one day and having her support is massive and I am very happy I am here and hopefully I can make the trip really worthwhile and hold the trophy up on Sunday but there is a long way to go yet."       

The highlight of Leishman's round was an eagle at the 15th which followed a 4-iron from 229 metres.

“I was between the 3 and 4-iron and ripped a 4-iron. I was aiming for the middle of the green knowing if I pulled it a little it would carry the bunker so it was a good time to hit a pull so to hit it in there to six feet was a nice one to get especially after the good start."

Leishman is excited about the possibility of winning his first marquee PGA Tour of Australasia title.

“We play tournaments around the world and don’t always have the friends and family support we get here and also to win an event you have grown up watching as a kid on TV or gone and watched as a kid.”

Adam Bland joined a share of the lead after his second round.

Bland moved to 9 under for the tournnament following a 3-under outward nine to stay in touch with Leishman who was playing three groups ahead of him. The South Australian's lone bogey Friday came at his 16th hole but he responded with back-to-back birdies to sign for a second straight 66 and join Leishman in the lead.

“I feel like my game, when I have been playing well, has been good but I have not been able to ride the momentum. It has been on and off but this week have hit a lot of shots close which I haven’t in recent weeks and have had a lot of real free birdies which is nice.

Zunic continues to benefit from the lessons learned from recently reading the book of Nick O’Hern, Tour Mentality - Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro, which has assisted his thinking and approach on the course.

The New South Welshman’s round of 69 has kept him in touch and he is ecstatic with his new found form.

“For me, just making the weekend I'm over the moon with, said the former New Zealand Open winner. “I haven't been playing really good lately so it's a huge confidence boost for me. I've been in a better mindset out on the golf course, so for me that's just ‑ that's a win in itself. 

“And for me, I'm not worried about results over the weekend, all I want to do is go out and enjoy myself and just keep improving on parts of my game and we'll see what happens."

Smith is now Australia’s fourth highest ranked player and playing in front of friends and family in his native Queensland, he too is enjoying playing ‘at home’.

“It's always good to come back and play some competitive golf,” said Smith. “A bit rusty last week with the competitive stuff, but my game is there. Didn't quite go my way a few times last week, but I'm feeling really confident this week. Yeah, like I said, it was really good to see the ball go in the hole today.”

GOLF LOVE: BROOKS KOEPKA

 

                                                  

 

 

   

 

 

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