Australian Men's Amateur: Mitchell Kale leads Kai Komulainen, Quinn Croker
Kai Komulainen is two shots back after round two (Golf Australia Photo)
Mitchell Kale is on top of the Australian Men's Amateur Championship after a pair of 67s and two closing birdies for embellishment at Yarra Yarra Golf Club in the second round, with first-round leader Kai Komulainen and Quinn Croker not far behind.
Kale leads by two shots at 8-under overall. His two late birdies at holes No. 8 and 9 took him ahead of Komulainen, who shot even-par at Keysborough to remain at 6-under.
Komulainen, the 18-year-old who led through round one, suffered a double bogey at the par-4 No. 14 when his three-wood tee shot sailed long and into a bush, requiring a penalty drop.
Kale was actually born on the Gold Coast and only moved to New Zealand when he was 12, where he took up golf.
He was runner-up to Australian Jasper Stubbs in the 2022 New Zealand Amateur, although he is not on the NZ team as such. Not yet at least.
“I haven’t had a bogey yet in two rounds, which is something I don’t usually do,” said Kale.
Capitalizing on the day's best conditions, he holed a 60-footer for par on the par-4 No. 7 to keep his streak running.
“I call myself a Kiwi, but I do have a little soft spot for the Aussies. My family is Kiwi-based. They were just living there (Gold Coast) at the time, and my sister and I were raised as little Aussies.”
Quinn Croker jumped into the mix at 5-under after a brilliant 64 at Yarra Yarra today, T3 with Noah Kent.
A couple of other locals, Yarra’s Phoenix Campbell (3-under) and Kingston Heath’s Abel Eduard (4-under), also remain prominent.
Runner-up among the pros at the Heritage Classic last week, Croker is in hot form. His gap wedge shot on the par-3 6th ought to have been a hole-in-one; instead, it ruined the edge of the hole where it landed and spun back to 12 feet. As is his way, he holed the birdie putt, though.
“It’s probably mostly from trust in the game,” he said. We put in a fair bit of work, and the practice has been pretty good coming into these events, and just getting out there and even if you don’t feel like you have it on the range, stick to the process and make good swings, and eventually, results come from that.”
ABOUT THE Australian Men's Amateur
The Australian Men's and Women's
Championships are Australia's oldest
Golf Championships, with both having
played since 1894. Long held as a match play event,
in 2021 the format changed to 72 holes
of stroke play.
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