In-form Simon Hawkes has swooped on the Horizon Golf NZ PGA Championship lead after the second round at Manawatu Golf Club. The Tasmanian professional fired 7-under 64, the equal best round of the day to take the outright lead after two rounds.
“I woke up this morning, looked outside and saw there was no wind so I knew that guys would be running up the leaderboard after us,” said Hawkes, who is 13 under.
Hawkes claimed the lead from playing partner Ben Campbell, who fired 5-under 66 and now trails by one shot.
“Ben has been great to play with over the last two days. It’s always good to be playing with someone who is in form as well,” added Hawkes. “It just pushes the vibe of the group up if everybody’s making birdies, you get dragged along.
Having won his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament at the recent Oates Vic Open, Hawkes is in form and not fazed about upsetting the local crowds if he were to claim the title from a New Zealander.
“It kind of felt a little bit like that out there today with some rounds of applause,” said Hawkes. “But it’s not going to bother me, I’m just going to stick to what I’ve been doing the last two days and hopefully that’s good enough.”
Campbell, who finished runner-up at the Horizon Golf NZ PGA Championship in 2017, headed straight to the range after his round to iron out some swing issues before the weekend.
“I started off really nicely. I was 4 under through nine and was playing really well,” said Campbell, whose scorecard featured six birdies and a bogey.
“I just kind of lost my swing a little bit there but I knew exactly what it was.”
Sitting three shots back from Campbell and rounding out the top-5 on the leaderboard are Deyen Lawson (VIC), Jack Munro (QLD), Matthew Millar (ACT), Jordan Zunic (NSW) and New Zealander David Smail who also recorded a 64.
The highlight of the day belonged to local pro, Josh Munn, who recorded a hole-in-one on the 152-metre par-3 16th using an 8 iron.
Also giving the crowds something to cheer about was Tim Wilkinson, who rallied after an opening round of 76, shooting 7 under to make the cut on the number.
The second round cut was made at 2 under with 57 professionals and one amateur making the weekend.