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03 Dec 2022 | Australian Open | All Abilities |

Barkley vaults into AAAC lead

by Australian Golf Media

Kurtis Barkley.

By Alexander Dabb

Canadian Kurtis Barkley did all the moving on day two of the Australian All Abilities Championship at Victoria Golf Club.

The 2019 runner-up learned to play golf in Australia as a young boy growing up in Bega, New South Wales, where his family started the famous cheese factory.

He took the lead after a strong front nine that included three birdies and only one bogey, going through the turn with a four-shot lead.

“It was just ‘A, B and C’. I stuck to the game plan, fairways and greens. Me and my caddie work well together,” he said.

“I made a few putts. The putter was pretty hot. So it was nice to see some rolling in.”

The Canadian suffered a few nervous moments as he dropped a shot on the 10th, while Englishman Mike Browne made a play for the lead by carding an eagle on the 8th and a birdie on the 9th to jump to a share of the lead.

However the ever reliable Barkley steadied, with birdies on the final two holes, to finish with the low round of 69, the only person below par for the day, while Browne faltered on the back nine, ending up nine shots back from Barkley.

The performance holds some extra significance for Barkley, who was born with scoliosis, as it falls on International Day of People with Disability.

“It just shows what people with disabilities are capable of you know, we're able in certain ways. So to go out do something like this on a day like that, it's pretty awesome.”

Overnight leader Kipp Popert suffered a disastrous stretch where he double-bogeyed the par-3 fourth before dropping another shot on each of the next two holes, relinquishing the top position to sit second overall, before making a birdie on the 17th and 18th to finish three shots back from Barkley.

The world No. 1 wasn’t the only contender to record a double bogey, with Irishman Brendan Lawlor also doing so on the first hole, recording a further five bogeys including a double on the 18th to end the day nine shots from the lead in a tie for fourth, one shot behind Spaniard Juan Postigo.

The youngest man in the field, Cameron Pollard, held his position as the top Australian 14 shots from the lead, and looks to improve his standing tomorrow.

“It's pretty awesome,” the man from the New South Wales Central Coast said of being the leading Australian.

“I didn't really know how I was going, on the green there I was looking at a few leader boards but didn't take much notice. And yeah, hopefully I can have a decent score tomorrow and improve my rank up on the leader board.”

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