CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (Feb. 23, 2012) -- Auckland rep Sam An lost the South Island Stroke Play last year with a double bogey on the final hole but he has given himself the chance at ultimate redemption this week at the Christchurch Golf Club. The New Zealand rep is the leader at the national tournament at the halfway stage after a superb four under par 68 got him to a six under par total and one shot ahead of round one leader Daniel Pearce (70).
The idea of burying the ghosts of his gut-wrenching loss to Vaughan McCall, who made birdie at the Timaru Golf Club last year to win by one, only came to mind when he was asked about it.
“I never really thought about but now you’ve reminded me,” said the 17-year-old An, who recently won the Grant Clements title.
“If I am in the lead again I just want to make a good decision this time, a better decision than last time.”
An, who impressed last year in his maiden year of representing New Zealand, said he learned a lot from the last couple of holes at the event last year but he thinks he has learned more in the past couple of months playing on demanding courses in Australia. It has set him up well for the test at Shirley.
“I find this course really tough. The last couple of years I was finding it hard to make par here but after a few years of experience I am finding this course easier."
An, who made five birdies and one bogey today, was happy with his play from tee to green.“I hit it really good off the tee and I hit it alright for my second shots. My misses aren’t too bad so my putting and chipping has been good.I am hitting it about the same as I did in the Grant Clements I just need to keep the putting dropping but I should be sweet.”
Meantime, Daniel Pearce, who plays out of the Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne these days, had a two-under-par 70 to back up his opening three-under-par 69.The former New Zealand rep, who has been in fine form in Australia this summer, was satisfied with his round two effort.
“I’m glad to have another round under par really,” said the 23-year-old.It wasn’t as easy this afternoon with the wind and I played well towards the end. I missed an easy chance on the 17 to get to three-under for the day but overall I am happy. It was scratchy through the middle but I came back well for a good strong finish.”
He wants to make the most of a rare opportunity to win a national title.“It’s been awhile,” said the former Hastings rep. “I am just going to enjoy it and keep doing the things I have been doing. I am going to try to put into place all the things I have learned in golf the last few years and see how I go.”
The defending champion McCall is quietly going about his work. He had a two-under-par 70 to be three shots back heading into the weekend.
“I have just got to work on a few things,” said the 20-year-old from the Gore Golf Club.“My iron shots are missing left. I have got a bit of room for improvement with my scoring.I started off with a quick bogey in the first couple of holes. It was a good learning point to get the processes going and make sure that I am playing with a clear mind. When I cleared my mind I started to play well. I made three birdies after that so I was happy. I have just got keep my attitude the same. Keep the same goals and hopefully I’ll get the same result as last year.”
Jordan Bakermans, who plays his golf at the Christchurch Golf Club, made the most of his local knowledge to post the low round of the tournament a five-under 67 to jump into a share of second place.
“My ball striking was the key,” he said. “I hit every single green. Putting wasn’t really how I wanted it but my second shots were good and I didn’t have too many outside 10 feet.It is nice to sleep in your own bed about 10 minutes away from the course. I feel really comfortable here."
Bakermans was happy to beat his previous best tournament round on his home track by one shot and is excited about his recent run of low scoring.
“I had a 63 in the final round of the Grant Clements so I am looking to go low again on the weekend.”