05 Mar 2021 | Professional golf |

Dann, Wilson ahead of TPS logjam

by PGA of Australia

Charlie Dann is a picture of concentration at Bonnie Doon. Picture: PGA of Australia
Charlie Dann is a picture of concentration at Bonnie Doon. Picture: PGA of Australia

The equal-best round of the day and a stunning bounce-back have given Queensland’s Charlie Dann and Victorian Peter Wilson a share of the lead at the halfway point of The Players Series Sydney at Bonnie Doon.

Strengthening wind made play progressively more difficult for the morning groups and was at its strongest as the afternoon wave took to the course before conditions eased slightly later in the afternoon.

Dann’s seven-under 64 was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 ninth, while Wilson had to fight his way back into contention after starting the second round with three consecutive bogeys heading into the teeth of a wind he estimated to be in excess of 40km/h.

“Yesterday I hit driver, 9-iron into the first and today it was driver, 3-wood,” Wilson said.

“Obviously I got off to a rough start, but I knew that seven, eight and nine were the easier down-wind holes. I just had to stay patient and wait for those holes to happen and I played them in four under again, like I did yesterday.”

An eagle two at the par-4 seventh and birdies at eight and nine got him back to square at the turn, then Wilson made it five shots gained in four holes with a birdie at the par-4 10th.

Yet despite joining Dann at the top with two closing birdies, he had competition from his daughter Chloe for best Wilson result of the day.

“This morning my daughter won her first pennant match, so it was really cool to get that message before I teed off,” said Wilson, who credited his good play in the opening two days to a swing tip from Jason Norris earlier in the week.

“She’s playing Division I for Cranbourne in the ladies pennant and she won on the 17th hole at Huntingdale, so I’m probably more happy for her. There’s still a long way to go in this tournament.”

A late bloomer in the world of professional golf, 28-year-old Dann didn’t turn pro until the end of 2018, but has consistently put himself in contention without closing out a breakthrough win.

With the prospect of returning to the PGA Tour China Series looking less likely, a strong weekend at Bonnie Doon would represent a critical short-term career milestone on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.

“I’m around 70th at the moment (on the money list) and I only crept up a little bit after the Moonah events,” said Dann, who finished tied for 11th at the Moonah Links PGA Classic.

“These next three weeks are pretty crucial for me for the next year or so.

“It would be really nice to hold an Aussie card at the least for the next 18 months.”

Matching Dann for round of the day to be one of five players sitting one shot adrift, 2019 NSW Open champion Josh Younger finished his round with a chip-in eagle at the par-5 ninth with former NT PGA champion Travis Smyth (65), professional debutant Jack Thompson (66), Victorian Blake Collyer (67) and Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb (68) all within one of the lead.

Although Elvis Smylie garnered much of the pre-tournament attention, Thompson has just the one bogey to his name through 36 holes in his maiden event as a professional.

“I pulled my tee shot left on 10 yesterday and as I was walking up there I was still a little bit nervous,” the South Australian admitted.

“Then I hit a really good shot into eight or nine feet and from that point on I felt so calm. It set the tone, to pull off a shot like that at the start.

“It’s a nice feeling looking at the leaderboard and seeing your name up there, you never get sick of it. I’ve just got to continue on and keep doing what I’m doing good and see where we go from there.”

It was a disastrous day for overnight leader Stephanie Kyriacou, with the local Sydney hope crashing out with a second round of nine-over 80 to miss the cut by three shots and reduce the number of females to make the weekend to four.

LPGA Tour regular Su Oh (68) and Augusta National-bound amateur Grace Kim (70) are the best placed of the women at five under par, one shot clear of new professional Doey Choi with a further shot back to fellow Sydneysider Breanna Gill at three under.

The third round of The Players Series Sydney presented by Cisco Webex commences at 9.50am AEDT on Saturday with the final two rounds to be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo on Saturday and Sunday.

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