Higginbottom in contention at the Isuzu QLD Open
IN-FORM Jake Higginbottom fired a second round 67 to charge into contention at the Isuzu Queensland Open at Brookwater.
Higginbottom, coming off his second placing at the Fiji International two weeks ago, is one stroke behind joint leaders Anthony Brown (65-73) and amateur Kade McBride (66-72) at the halfway point of the tournament.
The 20-year-old was one of the few players to capitalise on much easier conditions than prevailed during Thursday's opening round.
"The course played a lot easier today,'' he said. "The fairways were a little firmer but the greens were still soft and receptive. It was perfect out there.
"But there are a lot of bogeys on this golf course and you have to be careful.''
Brown, the overnight leader after his opening 65, shot 73 while 19-year-old amateur McBride showed maturity beyond his years to card an even-par 72.
"I went out to play a similar game to Thursday and stayed patient and calm,'' he said. "I definitely was more conservative today and my ball-striking was a bit scratchy. But it's nice to be joint-leader after 36 holes.''
McBride was one of nine amateurs to make the cut.
Lurking two strokes off the lead are South Australian Tom Bond (67-73) and Kiwi Peter Lee (69-71).
Low round of the day was shot by South Australian Max McCardle with a 66 to be tied at three-under with Kim Felton (70-71) and David Bransdon (67-74).
McCardle, 29, is an interesting character. A late starter in pro golf he is a qualified motor mechanic who has a top-10 finish in the Australian Open on his resume.
"I did all that other stuff then decided to give golf a go fulltime,'' he said.
McCardle, who started on the 10th tee, birdied five of his opening seven holes and had 31 for his first nine holes. He came to the final hole needing a birdie for a new course record but made bogey.
"I got off to a really good start but you have to be really patient at this place,'' he said.
Defending champion Nick Cullen (71-72) is five shots off the pace.