10 Dec 2021 | Professional golf |

Kivimets blazes 64 to lead Vic PGA into weekend

by Martin Blake

Brad Kivimets image
Brad Kivimets during his brilliant 64 at Moonah Links Legends today. Photo: Henry Peters

Victorian professional Brad Kivimets played a stunning second round to grab the spotlight at the Victorian PGA Championship at Moonah Links today, taking a rare tournament lead into the weekend.

Kivimets, 27, who is the teaching professional at Portsea Golf Club not far from here, blazed a second-round 64 on the Legends course with nine birdies to reach 12 under par overall.

He leads by two shots from Queenslander Michael Sim (10 under), with defending champion Chris Wood also in the mix at eight under as the tournament moves from the gentler Legends course to the brutal Moonah course for the final two rounds over the weekend.

In a combined four years as a trainee and a full PGA Professional, Kivimets has three pro-am victories to boast of but certainly nothing of this magnitude. “Yeah, it’s uncharted waters to say the least I think,” said the Victorian. “But it was pretty nice out there. I got it going and didn’t have too many hiccups. I was able to keep the momentum going.”

Originally a product of Victoria Golf Club in the Melbourne sandbelt, he made a great par-saving putt on the seventh hole, his second-last hole of the day, then produced the exclamation mark with an iron shot in close at the eighth and the putt was never missing.

“The putter’s been pretty warm,” he said.

His only bogey of the day came at the par-three third hole.

Kivimets completed his traineeship at Sandy Links before moving to Portsea, and also spent a couple of his formative years as a greenkeeper at Royal Melbourne. He still dreams of becoming a travelling player. “That’s the ambition, for sure.”

But he has two days on the more difficult Open course to negotiate before he can secure his first big win on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia. He said that the prospect of winning would be on his mind, but that he would try to focus shot-by-shot.

“Hopefully really well,” he said when he was asked how he would handle the heat of being the leader. “I was pretty nervous most of the day yesterday and all day today. It was nice to feel that, to have the nerves going and be able to still take advantage and do what I needed to do. Hopefully I can do the same over the weekend. I’m just looking forward to it, to be honest. It should be great.”

Conditions were much easier on the second day with lighter winds and the players capitalised immediately with first-round leader Kevin Smith quickly receding with a 74.

But there were plenty of birdies to be hand and Sim shot a second-round 66 to go with his opening 68 to push himself into the final group for tomorrow. The 37-year-old Sim’s late decision to make the trip to Victoria for the event is on track to pay dividends.

“I was really umming and ahhing on whether or not I was going to come down from Queensland,” he said. “We had to leave before the borders open and I only decided to come down on Sunday.

“The last four weeks I’ve probably had two rounds of golf. I haven’t been playing. I came down here with no expectations. I just wanted to get back into playing tournament golf.

“That was probably my first round in the morning since the NSW Open. I’ve been doing some coaching, but I haven’t been playing. I’ve done a little bit of practice in the last few weeks but I wanted to come down here and just see how the week went, and then play next week and get into the Australian PGA in January.

“I’m a bit shocked to be leading the tournament after the morning round, but I’ll just play two more rounds of golf and see how I go.”

Two shots back from Sim is defending champion Wood who shot 67. Wood, 30, is defending a title for the first time in his career, but he believes that the lack of tournament golf in recent times has removed the extra expectation that comes with being the reigning champion.

“It’s all new to me. I wouldn’t say there's a lot of pressure, I’m just trying to enjoy getting back into competitive golf.”

In the Victorian Celebrity Amateur Challenge being played at the same time, Andrew Dodt and Matt Hogg are leading at 20 under par.

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