12 Mar 2021 | Queensland Open |

15yr old in shot at history

by Contributor

Billy Dowling desperately trying to finish his round before darkness in RD2 of the Isuzu Queensland Open.
Queensland junior champion Billy Dowling is one of many talents youngsters in action this week.

- By Jim Tucker


Three pars to make the cut. Billy Dowling went to sleep on Friday night with that simple 15-year-old dream of golfing history at the Isuzu Queensland Open.

All he has to do is keep putting as well as he has for 33 holes...and avoid any huge Isuzu trucks that might again get in the way.

Not even former world No.1 Jason Day made the cut at 15 at the Queensland Open in 2003 when he shot 76-79 at Ipswich Golf Club.

Dowling’s one-under-par position is right on the cut line while five players sit atop a bunched leaderboard at eight-under at Pelican Waters.

Veterans Michael Wright and Peter Wilson will be out early at 7.30am (AEST) on Saturday morning to complete their final two holes.

Both share that eight-under perch with Newcastle’s Blake Windred (67-69), Victorian Bryden Macpherson (72-64) and Wynnum’s Chris Wood (68-68).

Macpherson’s hot 64 included two eagles on par fives but it was the magnetic story of Dowling, in the last group, which had even seasoned pros willing him on.

“How old...15!...how good is that?,” Wright, 47, said with delight.

Wright has been a pro for 22 years, longer than Dowling has been alive.

He was teaching schoolkids Dowling’s age last year as a relief teacher at two high schools to support his family when COVID cancelled golf tournaments.

“The teaching saved us as a family. It’s given life some balance with golf as well,” Wright said.

Dowling was sipping a Coke casually in the carpark with 13-year-old caddie Alfie Ward when he dissected his one-under position through 15 holes after his 72 on Thursday.

His run in with the truck was on his ninth hole, the par four 18th, where tournament sponsor Isuzu had one in a wide bunker for promotional purposes.

“I hit a three wood off a tough uphill lie, it hit the top of the truck and bounced into the hazard,” Dowling said.

He made an unfortunate bogey from the hazard but repaired things with clutch shots like a pin-rattling chip to save par one hole later.

“I think I’m doing really well...just three more pars and I make the cut which has always been my aim,” the Helensvale State High schoolboy said.

Wright was three-under for his second round. He did a fine job of keeping it that way in fading light on his 16th hole, a par five.

He found the trees off the tee, took a penalty stroke and hit a fine wedge and putt to save par with light fading.

Wilson was seven-under for his 16 holes after his opening round 71. Five straight birdies kickstarted things either side of the turn.

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