21 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |
Quayle embraces 'brutal' winds to lead Queensland PGA
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Former Queensland Open champion Anthony Quayle will have two of Australian golf’s hottest prospects nipping at his heels in Saturday’s final group at the Queensland PGA Championship in Brisbane.
A strong sou-easterly wind that was as strong as 40km/h at times caused havoc with scoring at Nudgee Golf Club’s Kurrai Course on Friday, only eight players in the field able to break par and the top four on the leaderboard at day’s end all shooting even par 72.
One of three players tied at six-under after day one, Quayle had a single birdie and one bogey in his round of 72 on Friday morning to claim the outright lead with challengers to his position failing to materialise in the afternoon.
New South Welshman Daniel Gale got to seven-under before a run of dropped shots saw him fall back to one-under through 36 holes with fellow Round 1 leader Cameron John also posting 77 to fall to a share of eighth.
Australian Amateur champion Louis Dobbelaar made three birdies in the space of five holes late in his morning round to be three-under at the halfway mark as Victorian David Micheluzzi snatched outright second with two late birdies to post 72 and a four-under total heading into the weekend.
Quayle, Micheluzzi and Dobbelaar will tee off in the final group at 11am on Saturday where winds are again expected to approach the 30km/h mark.
“Last week was a nice little taste to see what it was like with spectators and being in one of the last groups,” said Micheluzzi, who played alongside Jake McLeod in the second-to-last group at last week’s Australian PGA Championship.
“Final group tomorrow, that should be fun. I’m good mates with ‘Quayley’ and Louis so let’s have some fun and make some birdies.”
Fun was the furthest thing from most players’ minds on Friday as the quality of their shots was determined largely by the mercy of the winds.
Both Quayle and Micheluzzi described the conditions as “brutal” yet the 36-hole leader revelled in the challenge both course and conditions presented.
“I love playing in the wind. I really enjoy shaping my irons especially both ways,” said Quayle, who was tied for sixth at the Australian PGA.
“I like to hit compressed draws, I like to hit cut-up shots. I have a lot of fun generally when it’s windy like this.
“It’s difficult but I kind of enjoy the shot-shaping and the artistry of the game.”
Adding that it was mentally one of the toughest rounds he has ever had to play, Micheluzzi twice had to stage mini fightbacks to remain within reach of the top of the leaderboard.
A double-bogey at the par-4 first was the worst start possible but a chip-in at four and an eagle at the par-4 seventh after his 3-wood from the tee finished 25 feet from the hole got Micheluzzi back to red numbers on his round.
A second double bogey followed at 14 before birdies at 15 and 17 – and a near miss at 18 – kept him within two strokes of Quayle.
“I’m still a bit pissed off that I missed that putt on 18 from six feet which was kind of annoying,” said Micheluzzi who hit 7-iron into a hole measuring 165 metres on Friday.
“The course has firmed up so as a combined, course and wind, that was probably one of the toughest rounds mentally I’ve ever had.
“You had to hit good golf shots out there and if you hit a bad one you couldn’t get away with it.
“There’s water everywhere, hazards everywhere… Very, very pleased that I shot around par today.”
Round of the day was shared by Elvis Smylie and William Bruyeres with four-under 68 while Matt Millar (72) and Cooper Geddes (71) are level with Dobbelaar at three-under and tied for third.
The cut-line fell to five-over with Australian PGA champion Jed Morgan (77) missing on the number with other big-name casualties including Brett Rumford (77), Jack Thompson (73) and Peter Fowler (77).
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