Marquee man Min Woo Lee will have to revise his winning score prediction after local member Jed Morgan took a stranglehold of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship with a stunning second round on Friday.
A member at Royal Queensland Golf Club for the past five years, Morgan has been a professional for less than three months but his course record of eight-under 63 and two-round total of 14-under has thrown down the gauntlet to the more established pros in the field.
The short-priced favourite at the start of the week, Lee suggested on Thursday that 15-under would be a good 72-hole total but Morgan has vowed to keep the foot to the floor over the closing two rounds.
Lee began his second round at 11.30am AEST an astonishing 11 shots off the lead and in need of playing the level of golf that in 2021 elevated him inside the top 50 in the world.
Huge morning for Jed Morgan who has shot a Round 2 score of 8-under to have a 6-shot lead! 😮@Fortinet @visitbrisbane @Visitqueensland @WPGATour #AusPGA #AusWPGA #thisisqueensland #thisisbrisbane #visitbrisbane #brisbaneanyday pic.twitter.com/mmI00C17Bz
— #AusPGA | PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) January 14, 2022
Morgan is more than 1,400 spots lower in the world rankings yet fired a brilliant bogey-free round to open up a seven-shot lead on Friday morning before being trimmed back slightly to six.
Gatton product Andrew Dodt rose into second spot on the back of a five-under par round of 66, one clear of Round 1 leader Louis Dobbelaar who bounced back after some early struggles to post an even-par round of 71 in the morning wave.
Korean Chang Gi Lee (67) and Queenslanders Anthony Quayle (66) and Jake McLeod (67) also took advantage of the excellent scoring conditions yet they find themselves well back of Morgan with 36 holes left to play.
The Australian PGA Championship record score relative to par is Nick O’Hern’s 22-under at Coolum in 2006 but despite already being within eight of that the 22-year-old refused to put a ceiling on what’s possible.
“I didn’t know that 14 (under) was a number that we could get to through two rounds and I’m there so I won’t put a cap on it,” Morgan said of what’s now possible in terms of a winning score.
“There’s no number or cap on it, just got to keep making birdies.”
Beginning his second round on the back nine, Morgan was just one-under through six holes but caught fire as he neared the turn.
A birdie at the par-4 16th was followed by a near ace at the short par-3 17th before adding a third in succession at the 18th hole.
He birdied the second and fifth holes and both the par 5s on the front nine to put himself in position for a life-changing victory.
“I’m definitely thinking about it. It’s pretty hard not to if you’re leading,” Morgan said of the prospects of lifting the Joe Kirkwood Cup on Sunday.
“That’s part of it. There are plenty of guys out here who have thought about winning no no reason why I can’t do it.
“I had the experience of yesterday to build on and I built on it. I’m just going to keep going.
“The members and my family are out here cheering me on which is probably the biggest thing.
“I felt that out there again today. There’s no way to go other than forwards so you’ve just got to keep striving and hopefully it falls your way.”