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Two time champion Chalmers makes afternoon move at Aust PGA

Chalmers hits his approach to the last this afternoon. (Photo: Bruce Young)
Former two-time winner of the event, Greg Chalmers, was the only one of the afternoon field to challenge the morning leaders on day two of the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, the winner in 2011 and 2014 adding a second round of 66 to move to within two of the early second round leaders, Marc Leishman and Adam Bland.

Chalmers, who survived a seven-hole playoff to defeat Adam Scott and Wade Ormsby on the then partially revamped layout in 2014, recorded the best afternoon round and the second best of the day (after Leishman) to move within striking distance of not only his third PGA Championship but he would add that to the two Australian Opens and Australian Tournament Players Championship he has also won in Australia.

Chalmers has special memories of this event and this golf course and is enjoying the relaxed nature of the week and the chance to catch up with his parents.

"I mean, I've won this event twice and once here, so it's very relaxing here and that helps me, so I'm really enjoying myself this week.  I'm staying with my family ‑‑ my parents, sorry ‑‑ down on the Broadbeach and it's a nice little view I've got, and then coming and playing some golf and hopefully play well.

"Everything off the golf course is pretty casual and everyone when you're out here is pretty casual.  It's just not as intense as we see more often week in, week out.  So yeah, I had a couple things to sort in my game and that's trending well so I'm really happy with the first two days.

"I'm feeling great. Looking forward to I think I'm going to be close to the last group or around it somewhere tomorrow. So I know a bunch of guys are up there and they're playing well, Leish and Blandy, so there's still a long way to go so we've got a lot of good golf to play yet."

The afternoon field enjoyed continuing fine conditions but there was just enough of a breeze to test the field more than had been the case for those out in the morning half.

Lismore’s Rhein Gibson also made progress in the afternoon with a round of 67 to move to 9 under, and into a share of 3rd place, a score he shares with Cameron Smith and Jordan Zunic. It is no surprise that Gibson played so well today as he is the course record holder over the revamped layout at RACV Royal Pines having produced that score in a week when even par won the tournament in 2015.    

Sergio Garcia threatened to challenge for the lead but was bought undone when he found the water with his second at the par five 9th and followed that up with a bogey at the 10th.

The Spaniard kept his own hopes and those of tournament organisers alive when he birdied the 11th, 15th and 16th, the latter of which came with a lengthy birdie putt in front of a packed bar on the Million Dollar hole before he dropped a shot at the last.

Garcia is, however, still in the event despite being six shots behind but his playing partner over the opening two rounds, Adam Scott, is not. Scott finished two shots from the cut-line after a round of 74.

"It wasn't my best day out there today," said Garcia.  "I hit a couple really nice putts but probably a little bit tired I think physically and mentally.  Because of that, obviously my golf game wasn't as sharp as I would like it to be. 

"But I guess the good thing is we still fought hard, we stayed in it, and as uncomfortable as I felt out there, to be able to still shoot 1 under, it's a positive thing.  But I would have loved to ‑‑ I think if I could have easily been just a tiny been sharper, I could have easily shot 4 or 5 under and really been very close to the leader.  But it is what it is, I guess."

"Well, we'll see," added Garcia when asked if he still has a chance. "It depends on tomorrow, if we have a really good day tomorrow.  If not, if we don't have a great day tomorrow, then it's going to be tough because those guys are playing well and they're not going to back up much.

"We all know how good of a player he (Leishman) is. He's been on tour for a long time. It's not easy to keep your card year in and year out on the PGA TOUR, so obviously it shows a lot.  Obviously this year he's had a great year with a couple of wins and a lot of confidence so that obviously always helps."

Sergio Garcia - a big task ahead

Round two of the Australian PGA Championship ended with Marc Leishman and Adam Bland ahead by three over Cameron Smith, Rhein Gibson and Jordan Zunic.

Given the capacity of this layout, which has been softened by rain this week, to produce low scores there are still many players still in the race for the title.

Marc Leishman has already won a Greg Norman Medal this week and he is nicely positioned to win his most significant event in Australia to add to what would be a very special week and to cap off his best ever year in professional golf.







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