Griffin takes narrow lead at Australian PGA
COOLUM, Australia – Matthew Griffin shot a 3-under 68 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby and Jason Norris after the second round of the Australian PGA.
Griffin had a 7-under 135 total on the Hyatt Regency Resort course that features six new holes. Ogilvy made a 12-foot par putt on 18 for a 66. Appleby had a 69, and Norris shot a 67.
South Korea’s Han Min-kyu was the top non-Australian, following his first-round 62 with a 75 to drop into a tie for fifth at 5 under with Australians Bronson La’Cassie (69) and Scott Strange (70).
Robert Allenby (68) and Adam Scott (70) were 4 under, and John Daly was 1 under after rounds of 71 and 70.
Griffin played the front nine last on Friday, including the six new holes with harder greens that make it tougher for approach shots to hold.
“The winds were pretty tricky and blowing pretty good, the greens were tough,” Griffin said. “But I holed a few nice putts and got on a bit of a roll.”
Appleby dueled with Scott last week in the final two rounds of the Australian Open before Scott emerged a five-stroke winner. Appleby finished eighth at the Australian Masters, reviving his form at home after a poor PGA Tour season that saw him finish outside the top 125 on the money list that guarantees cards for next season.
“I would like to finish the year off and get my world ranking going in the right direction instead of the other way,” said Appleby, who has decided to use his one-time exemption from the top 25 on the career money list for his PGA Tour card next year.
Norris sustained serious facial and upper-body injuries two years ago when he fell off a bicycle and crashed into a concrete path at the resort. He didn’t play for seven months, and still has pain in his jaw, teeth and right wrist.
“I’d rode 20 meters and we were just looking for a taxi after the cut party,” Norris said. “I wasn’t drunk, probably tipsy. I saw the bike and thought I would hang a joke with the boys and say, ‘Here’s our ride.’ I was going to ride down the hill, and then I didn’t get down the hill.”
The 37-year-old Norris doesn’t stay at the resort because it’s too expensive.
“This place owes me,” Norris said. “Every time I walk past the place it happened, it sort of knocks me around a bit.”
Norris isn’t sure where he’ll play next year due to a continuing spat between the new One Asia tour, which includes the Australian PGA, and the Asian Tour.
The Asian Tour, where Norris played this year, has threatened its players with fines and suspensions if they take part in any One Asia tournaments next year.
“I finished 90th (on the Asian Tour), which won’t give me full status for next year, so at this stage I’m looking forward to playing the One Asia events,” he said.
“I would love to play both, but the Asian Tour has taken a strong stance against it at the moment, but hopefully things will change.”
Allenby had another interesting day with his wardrobe. On Thursday, he took off his shoes and socks and rolled his trousers up to his knees to hit a ball out of a pond. On Friday, he took his trousers off completely, stripping down to his boxer shorts, while trying to do a similar shot out of water on the par-4 third, where he took a double-bogey.
“I did look around to make sure there were no cameras ... just one TV camera,” Allenby said. “I actually thought I would get it on to the green, but it only went like 2 feet.”