10 Feb 2021 | National Championships |
Thompson charge blows #AusAm wide open
by Mark Hayes
Good golfers collect course records and South Australian Jack Thompson has a talent that could well land him many.
But when he looks back on his career, whenever that might be, finding a slice of the Kooyonga mark at a critical time in the Australian Amateur Championship will surely sit front and centre.
Thompson carded nine birdies when others found the brilliant but increasingly difficult suburban Adelaide layout too much to handle as the heat baked its greens.
He even had the luxury of a couple of missed short putts in a seven-under-par 65 that will likely define the chase for the land’s most prestigious amateur crown.
A member at nearby The Grange, the 23-year-old will resume battle tomorrow at 12 under par overall, good for a whopping five-stroke lead just a day after the leaderboard looked jammed.
“It was pretty difficult, but I holed some putts early which started me off well and that helped with momentum and it just went really well,” Thompson said.
“There were a couple of hiccups, but that was one of the best rounds I’ve played in a while.
“I can’t say much, I just played really good.”
Thompson said it would be hard not to think about his lead, but said he had a secret target score in mind that would maintain his focus for the final two rounds.
His brilliance almost unfairly took the spotlight off another 65, the morning round of Sydney prodigy Jeffrey Guan.
The recently crowned New South Wales stroke play champion was disappointed when he was three over midway through his first round on Tuesday.
But Guan, a member at The Australian and plainly already a great shotmaker, fought hard to stay in touch then before unleashing a furious charge today.
“On the first day … I wasn’t getting that rhythm … everything was just two-putt golf,” Guan said.
“But I got out here today and hit some quality shots … and things started feeling much better.”
The pair now share the men’s amateur Kooyonga record with Ryan Ruffels, who shot the same score in winning the Australian Junior Championship in 2015.
Guan’s round left him at six under, one behind overnight leader Toby Walker (71) and Cottesloe’s Michael Hanrahan Smith who could easily have joined the power duo had he not missed a short par try on the 17th as part of his own spectacular 66.
Big Queenslander Lawry Flynn impressed again with his second consecutive 69 to join Guan at six under, while New South Welshman Jackson Bugdalski deserved more praise for his own late 68 to sit sixth alone at five under.
A host of expected contenders remain in the mix in red numbers, but their fate may well rest in Thompson’s bag already.
Of those who won’t be around tomorrow, Jordy Garner and defending champion Jed Morgan will be the biggest names to miss the three-over-par cut.
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