Overnight joint leader Daniel Nisbet maintains a share of top spot at 12-under alongside American visitor Kramer Hickok and fellow Australians Jarryd Felton and Ben Eccles.
With 11 players within three shots of the lead and 25 within five the weekend promises some thrilling golf as some of the country’s best do battle for the prestigious Kel Nagle Cup.
European Tour player Jason Scrivener and former standout amateur Lucas Herbert are a stroke off the pace at 11-under with Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya alone at 10-under.
Australia’s amateur super star Min Woo Lee is among those at 9-under after a gutsy 2-under 70 in tricky afternoon breezes, newly minted professional Harrison Endycott also at that mark after a 5-under 67.
Four birdies and a bogey on the outward nine had Lee within two of the leaders at the turn and after a fifth gain of the day at the 11th he looked set to pounce.
But as the winds picked up over the closing stages he couldn’t get his approach shots close enough to make birdies and with two dropped shots on the inward half he walked off the course with mixed feelings.
“I played a pretty good front nine when the wind was down and then the wind got up and it plays really tricky,” he said.
“The pins were in pretty tough positions for the wind and I just didn’t have a really good back nine but front nine played pretty decent.
“It could have been worse. I could have had a draw that was an hour later and had the whole back nine in that wind.”
Lee impressed with an array of shots as the breezes picked up and he relied heavily on a specialist ‘stinger’ shot with his 2-iron to combat the winds.
“The last few years I’ve just done it and it’s just next to my name now,” he said.
“Everyone’s just like ‘Oh show us the stinger’ but I have to be careful because if I use it too much it creeps into the rest of my swing.”
The morning players had the best of the conditions on day two with tricky winds testing the afternoon wave.
Both Hickok and Felton were out in the morning but the round of the day came from 2015 champion Eccles whose 64 came late in the day and was the best score posted.
The 36-hole cut fell at 1-under-par with 84 players qualifying for the weekend rounds.
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