20 Mar 2021 | Professional golf |
Three Aussies chase glory
by Martin Blake
Scott Hend soared into the lead on the European Tour while two other Australians, Matt Jones and Robyn Choi, remained in contention in America today. After a quiet opening to 2021 compared to the win frenzy of 2020, Aussies are in contention in various parts of the world. The 47-year-old Queenslander Hend shot a second-round 64 with eight birdies and a single bogey at the Kenya Open in Nairobi to take a share of the lead entering the weekend. While he has won three times on the European Tour and multiple times in Asia, Hend is chasing his first victory since 2019 in Malaysia. At 11 under par, he is tied for the lead with Kalle Samooja of Finland. The 40-year-old Texas-based Jones had lit up the Honda Classic with his opening 61 on Thursday, equalling the course record at PGA National, but he was more subdued for much of the second round, starting poorly, losing the lead and then rallying late. Jones, twice the Australian Open champion, made four bogeys in his first seven holes, starting out on the back nine, threatening to unravel. But then at the par-five 18th he hit his second shot to two metres and holed the eagle putt, and a nice left-to-right birdie from close range at his final hole, the par-four ninth, gave him an even-par 70 to keep him tied-second. Only American Aaron Wise at 12 under after a pair of 64s is ahead of Jones, whose only PGA Tour win came in Houston in 2014.
"It's always tough to follow up a really good round. Just, I hit it well, warmed up well, and my goal was just to give myself as many chances at birdie as I could. I had plenty. I had a few out there today that I didn't make, but I had a good day and I'm happy where I am."
Adam Scott (67 today) also is inside the top 20.
IN LOUISIANA, Sydney's Harrison Hendycott is tied-sixth through two rounds of the Korn Ferry Tour's Louisiana Open, three shots from the lead. Meanwhile Gold Coast star Choi is tied-seventh in the Symetra Tour event in Arizona, just four shots from the lead.
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