06 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |
Sim, Pilkadaris on top at Legends
By Tony Webeck, Australasian PGA Tour
Victorian Terry Pilkadaris has avoided an early wake-up call on Saturday morning after racing the daylight to take a share of the lead at the Victorian PGA Championship at the Moonah Links Resort on Friday. With close to three-and-a-half hours of play lost due to rain and thunderstorms on Friday afternoon, 30 players will return to the Legends Course from 7.30am Saturday morning to complete their second rounds before those who make the cut move across to the Open Course for the final two rounds. Pilkadaris joined Michael Sim (66) at the top of the leaderboard at 12-under par with a second round of seven-under 65, racing through the final holes with help from playing partner Jason Norris to avoid an early start Saturday. “I didn’t want to have to come back in the morning at 7.30 to play one hole and then wait around to tee off again at 12.30,” said Pilkadaris, who shot 65 in the final round of The Players Series Victoria last week to finish tied for sixth. “Jason Norris missed the cut but he asked what I wanted to do and I said, ‘Let’s go. Let’s get through.’ “Steve Jeffress was in front of us and he told us to hit so we played the last hole with them, which was nice of them. The last three holes were a par five, medium par four and long par four, and I reckon we played them in 20 minutes.” Sim and Pilkadaris finished third and fourth respectively at the 2009 Moonah Classic played on the Open Course and Sim is excited to reacquaint himself with a layout that set the tone for a breakout year. “I haven’t played it since the Moonah Classic,” said the 36-year-old, who earned promotion to the US PGA TOUR via his three-win season on the Nationwide Tour in 2009. “I played it a little bit when I was in the AIS golf program so I do know my way around the golf course quite well so definitely looking forward to it. “I probably need to hit a few more cleaner iron shots out there than on the Legends Course but happy to be in a good position for the next two days and looking forward to the weekend. “It’s a much bigger test out there with a greater premium on your ball-striking and with the wind forecasted for the weekend it’s still anyone’s tournament.” Now based on the Gold Coast and completing his PGA of Australia bridging course to continue teaching at Lakelands Golf Club, Sim made his return to tournament golf at last week’s Players Series event where he finished tied for 28th. “That was probably the first time I’ve played four rounds of golf in 10 months. Competitive golf anyway,” said Sim, who was runner-up to close friend Aaron Pike at the 54-hole NT PGA last October. “I had some nice rounds and felt like if I missed a green I didn’t get up and down or threw in a silly three-putt. It wasn’t terrific but I made the cut and managed to put four rounds together. You need to play tournament golf to know what you’ve got to work on.” With fond memories of his own of his performance at the Moonah Classic more than a decade ago, Pilkadaris conceded that changing courses adds a new dimension to the final two rounds. “The Open Course plays differently because it’s a completely different golf course,” said Pilkadaris, still chasing a maiden ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia title. “I played a nine-hole practice round out there on Wednesday and the greens were quicker. It’s a whole different dynamic.” Thursday’s early leader Josh Clarke has five holes left to play in his second round and sits one shot off the lead at 11-under along with Blake Windred (69), James Marchesani (69) and Aaron Wilkin (70). Zach Murray’s seven-under 65 matched Pilkadaris and Matt Millar for the equal best round of the day and places him in a five-way tie for seventh at 10-under alongside round one leader Cameron John (72), Anthony Quayle (69), Justin Warren (three under through 13) and Damien Jordan (five under through 10). Central Coast’s Dimi Papadatos looked set to take a two-shot lead into the third round after reaching 14-under but struck disaster on the par-three 16th, hitting two tee shots out of bounds on his way to a seven and a two-round total of nine under par.
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