24 Feb 2023 | Amateur golf | Professional golf |

Walker two clear at Tasmanian Open

by Dane Heverin

Toby Walker.

Click here for scores.

Victorian amateur Toby Walker heads into the final round of the Tasmanian Open at Launceston Golf Club with a two-shot advantage after a five-under par round of 67 on Friday.

Walker began the day with a share of the lead, and he now sits at eight-under par with a first victory in a World Amateur Golf Ranking event since 2018 in his sights.

The 23-year-old bookended his round with a pair of birdies, and he made four birdies in the closing six holes to break clear of his rivals.

Walker was a member of the victorious Victorian team at last year’s Australian Interstate Teams Matches and he also has an impressive history at this event having come runner-up in the 2022 edition.

The tournament is now a 54-hole Pro-Am with prize money up for grabs for the first since the early 1990s and Launceston’s resident PGA professional Daniel Smith was the only player to match Walker’s second round 67.

Smith, who is six-under for the event, admitted to feeling the weight of expectation to perform in the lead up to the event on his home course, but he showed no signs of battling with the pressure in a round that included a hole-in-one at the par 3 fourth hole and a back nine 31.

His charge home included making four straight birdies to close out his round and jump into a share of second alongside fellow Tasmanian professional Simon Hawkes.

The 2016 champion produced a rollercoaster second round 68 that included eight birdies.

Hawkes reached the turn in 36 as his four birdies were offset by two bogeys and double bogey, but he steadied in the second half of his round with a back nine 32.

Prior to the event, Hawkes discussed the event being a “weird springboard” for many players as the illustrious honour roll of past champions have often gone onto win prominent events in the years following their Tasmanian Open triumph.

If he gets his hands on the trophy tomorrow, he will be hoping that it acts as a launching pad to a drought breaking win on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia – his last triumph came at the 2018 Vic Open.

Tasmanian amateur Jack Tregaskisjago, Victorian professional Cameron Kelly and Queensland professional William Bruyeres are tied for fourth at four-under par.

Victorian Jazy Roberts leads the women’s event after shooting a one-under par second round of 71.

Roberts is two-over par and she leads by three shots from Tasmania’s Jorjah Bailey and Hallie Meaburn, and New South Wales’ Charlotte Perkins.

Victory on Saturday would clinch a unique treble for the 17-year-old after she won both the Tasmanian Junior Masters and the Tasmanian Junior Amateur in January, and her love affair with the Apple Isle also includes a runner-up finish in last year’s edition of this tournament.

Next month the Belvoir Park member heads to Singapore to represent Australia at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific for the first time.

The Tasmanian Inclusive Championship is being played in conjunction with the Tasmanian Open and Keith Dobie from Wynnum Golf Club in Queensland is leading the 54-hole Stableford event for golfers with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability with 59 points after two rounds.

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