Nick Flanagan was quieter on the 13th beach today, but he still makes some noise.
The Novacastrian had to wait the whole morning when the ISPS Handa Vic Open-lead he created with his beautiful 62 on Thursday was taken away by the early players. When the wind came up in the afternoon and the conditions were getting stiff, Flanagan quietly chose to play a 68 and recapture a piece from the top spot on the leaderboard.
At the end of the day, he shared the leader with Perth's Jason Scrivener on 14-run at half the tournament, and they are a shot for the European Tour veteran of South Australia's Wade Ormsby at 13-under.
A victory would be enormous for all of them, although Ormsby's pioneering victory at the end of 2017 gave him a job in Europe until 2020. For Flanagan and Scrivener, it would give them the status they desperately want.
Australians are prominent at the top; of the eight leading players are only Scotsman David Law and Clement Sordet from France (who shot the low 64 of the day) from offshore. It was a day with a red letter on the 13th beach, with large galleries following the selection groups of both the men's and women's tournaments, but not necessarily, as it happened, the leaders.
The likes of Lucas Herbert, who in the mix at 10-under, drew supportive crowds and the players lapped the relaxed atmosphere, without the ropes.
Flanagan was happy that he could stay in the mix for another day. "I think yesterday was a bit of a surprise, but at the same time I played well and I had taken everything out of my game," he said. "I'm probably happier with today's round, given that I supported that 62. And it could have been anything today, probably it could have been a few better, but I had my right to a long putt and good breaks so far the first two days, so to be at the top of the rankings of the leaderboard is clearly amazing and we are going into the weekend and just continue to do what I do. "
Scrivener went 64-66 in his methodical way, best described in his own words as "plotting your way". In two full days he did not deign to play a single bogey, which is a wave of the 29-year-old, who is franking the good form he has shown in the European Tour in the past year
"I think we can play … the golf course has been pretty benign for the past two days, so I'm sure it can stand up and scoring can be a lot harder," he said afterwards. "We will see what happens on the weekend.
"Every time your game is in a good spot and you constantly cut down and put yourself in the head, it's good for confidence, I feel like I've made some big improvements in my game over the last six months and steadily progressed I feel that it is in a good position and I just want to give myself more chances to win tournaments. "
The case of Orsby is interesting; the 38-year-old has played well enough in Europe in recent years not to be a surprise as a joint leader, but he has made recent changes that have been quickly deployed. In particular, he separated from permanent coach Darren Cole and this week recorded with Liam James of the academy run by British professional Robert Rock.
"If you do the same, you will never get better," he said. "It is always a work in progress, this game. & # 39;
Western Australian Matt Jager and Queenslander Brad Kennedy are in a tie for fourth with 12-under, only two shots from the lead. The South Australian left-handed Nick Cullen is 11-under and is right with former winner Matt Griffin and Australia's best-ranked player in this field, Herbert, at 10-under.
As far as Flanagan is concerned, he is concentrating at the moment. "(It) that I'm working on right now is just being really happy with the effort I make at every stroke and not worrying about the outcome," he said. "It's cliché, but it works, so my goal is to really come to the end of a round and be happy with what I've done between the ears, and if it's a 74 or a 64, it does not work. really, that's the goal for the weekend. "
The training sessions played two shots more difficult today, but the low scores of the first round saw a decline of five-under-par-set. Among those who miss the weekend, the English visitor Andrew & # 39; Beef & # 39; Johnston, the former winners Simon Hawkes and Dimi Papadatos and the recent European Tourist Jake McLeod, together with the Japanese visitor Ryo Ishikawa.
-14 Nick Flanagan (Aust), Jason Scrivener (Aust)
-13 Wade Ormsby (Aust)
-12 Matt Jager (Aust), Brad Kennedy (Aust)
-11 David Law (Scotland), Nick Cullen (Australia), Clement Sordet (France)