19 Aug 2023 | Professional golf |

Jack Thompson trails by one in England

by Tony Webeck

Jack Thompson
South Australian Jack Thompson is one stroke off the lead at the Asian Tour's International Series England. Photo: PGA of Australia

A late surge has thrust Australian Jack Thompson to within one stroke of the lead at the halfway mark of the Asian Tour’s International Series England event near Newcastle.

Young Spanish golfer David Puig produced a bogey-free round of 5-under 66 on Friday to take a share of the lead at 6-under along with American Jason Kokrak at Close House Golf Club.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Thompson is one of three players at 5-under after he followed up an opening round of 1-under 70 with a 4-under 67, highlighted by a chip-in birdie at the par-4 seventh, one of two birdies in his final three holes.

The Gippsland Super 6 champion in 2021, Thompson won Asian Tour Qualifying School in January but has to this point failed to crack a top-20 finish in limited appearances.

His best finish this year is a tie for 24th at The DGC Open in March and credited sharper wedge play for putting him in contention.

“I honestly didn’t do too much different to yesterday,” said the South Australian, who played his first nine in level-par but accumulated four birdies on his back nine.

“I just hit it a little bit closer with the shorter irons, so happy with where it is at.”

Intermittent showers and cool conditions made scoring difficult for some, Thompson grateful that this week he may have fallen on the right side of the draw.

“You can get a little bit like this in Australia, I guess in winter,” Thompson reasoned.

“It’s been not too bad. I think so far probably I got the better side of the draw.

“It wasn’t raining that much, but sometimes it can sort of play on your mind a little bit.

“It’s cold as well so it doesn’t go as far, but I think I’ve been lucky with the weather as well.”

Thompson is tied with Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Andy Ogletree, James Piot and former Australian Open champion Abraham Ancer and has countrymen nipping at his heels.

New South Welshmen Travis Smyth (68) and Matt Jones (70) are two back of Thompson at 3-under par in a tie for eighth.

On the PGA TOUR, a second round of 4-under 66 has kept alive Cam Davis’s hopes of advancing to the Tour Championship.

Ranked 45th in the FedEx Cup standings at the start of the week, Davis responded to a 3-over 73 on day one with six birdies to climb 19 spots on the BMW Championship leaderboard and into a tie for 26th with two rounds to play.

Davis needs a tie for sixth or better to move inside the top 30 while Jason Day is clinging onto his position inside the 30 despite a 4-over 74 on day two to be tied for 40th.

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