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13th Beach Golf Links, VIC

1-4 February, 2024

10 Feb 2023 | Vic Open |

Hendry hurries ahead at Vic Open

by Dane Heverin

Michael Hendry.

New Zealander Michael Hendry leads the Vic Open by two shots following a stunning 10-under par second round of 62 at 13th Beach’s Creek Course.

The 43-year-old did not put a foot wrong on Friday as he made five birdies on each nine in his bogey free effort to sit 18-under par for the tournament.

Hendry opened with a 64, which included a hole-in-one at the par 3 12th, on the Beach Course yesterday and he felt as if the stars have aligned for him in the first two rounds even though that ace would have won him a BMW iX xDrive40 valued at $135,900 if he made it on the weekend.

“It feels a little bit that way, yeah,” Hendry said.

“It was one of those days where everything seemed to go well and I hit a lot of really good shots, and the putts dropped as well. It was a really nice day.”

Hendry has been a regular on the Japan Golf Tour for a decade and he is a proven performer on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia having won his home country’s PGA Championship twice and Open once.

He also came runner-up to Adam Scott at the 2019 Australian PGA Championship and Hendry is counting on his experience to hold him in good stead across the weekend, especially with Sunday’s forecast being the opposite of the glorious conditions players have enjoyed so far.

“I’ve played this game for long enough that I know that it can turn quickly with one bad swing,” Hendry said.

In recent times Hendry has been battling with a shoulder injury but he is now “trending in the right direction” with his eyes set on winning the New Zealand Open again and holding his card in Japan.

Hendry had a difficult 2022 and he now holds limited status on the Japanese Tour with the need to play well early in the season to maintain his card.

“I’ll just do the best I can with the status I have and take it from there I suppose,” Hendry said.

“I’ve been playing up there a long time and if it happens that I don’t keep my card up there, maybe it’s time to move on and do something else.”

In second place is Deyen Lawson who followed up his equal course nine-under 63 alongside Mathew Goggin on the Beach Course yesterday with a seven-under 65 on the Creek Course.

Lawson originates from the Bellarine Peninsula - despite now residing in Queensland - and the combination of his local knowledge and a supportive gallery helped him to card eight birdies on the day.

He has already won once this season at the WA Open and Lawson will be eager to improve his Order of Merit standing – he is eighth currently but four players ahead of him have not met the four-event requirement – and move toward the lucrative three DP World Tour cards on offer with another impressive weekend.

A shot back in third position is Queenslander Gavin Fairfax who shot 66 on the Creek Course.

Fairfax made seven birdies to follow up his 64 on Thursday in impressive fashion as he chases a maiden victory before he heads back to the United States to secure more playing opportunities.

There are a quarter of players in a tie for fourth with amateur Jack Buchanan, Mathew Goggin, Haydn Barron and Justin Warren at 13-under after they all played the Creek Course today.

New South Welshman Warren produced the low round of the group with a seven-under 65 that included eight birdies, six of which came on the front nine to close out his round – he teed off from the tenth.

The 151st Open-bound Barron shot a 66 and he has taken a liking to links-style golf this summer after he booked in his major championship debut by securing one of the three spots on offer at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in December.

South Australian Buchanan once again showed that he is a player on the rise with a 67, while former world-top 50 player Goggin reminded everyone of his class with a 68.

Rounding out the top ten is a five-way tie for eighth at 12-under par between Tom Power Horan, Elvis Smylie, amateur Jasper Stubbs, Douglas Klein and Aaron Townsend.

Overnight leader Ryan Ruffels is 10-under par for the tournament after he fell down the leaderboard due to a gut-wrenching quadruple bogey at the Beach Course’s par 5 18th.

The 24-year-old – who shot an 11-under 61 on the Creek Course yesterday – hit his drive into the penalty area before doing so again with his third shot after taking a drop, and he ultimately made a nine.

Remarkably the cut line is at five-under par and Saturday is both family day and ‘Sea of Yellow Day’ for Challenge in honour of the late Jarrod Lyle.

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