Mike Hendry's bid to secure the Australasian PGA Tour Order of Merit fizzled out on the windswept home of the season-ending $A1.25 million PGA Championship in Queensland as the New Zealander surrendered more ground to frontrunner Peter Senior.
Hendry survived the midway cut at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast but the Australian would need to implode over the next 36 holes for allow the Aucklander to claim top spot on Sunday - and earn an exemption for next year's British Open.
Senior, who overhauled the long-time pace-setter by winning the Australian Open in Sydney last weekend, has a $A15,500 lead over the Kiwi -and, more importantly, a seven-stroke buffer.
The 53-year-old sits in a share of eighth at six-under; Hendry ended up on the cut line at one-over as the field was trimmed to 71.
Hendry was two-under the card after nine but had to settle for an even-par 72 as bogeys on the 13th and 16th consigned him to a share of 59th.
Australian Daniel Popovic, who blitzed the field with an eight-under 64 yesterday, recorded a two-under 70 to remain atop the leader board, albeit alongside China's Xin Jun Zhang whose back-to-back 67s also saw him sit two shots clear of Australians Geoff Ogilvy and Matthew Griffin.
While Hendry and Nick Gillespie teetered on the brink before their continued participation was assured, Josh Geary maintained his status as the diminished New Zealand contingent's leading performer.
A morning tee time enabled him to be back in the clubhouse before the gusts intensified but it was far from a tranquil experience before he signed for a 72 to stay safe at three-under.
Consistency eluded Geary until an unfortunate sequence of three consecutive bogeys between eight and 10; a double bogey in the par-3 14th added to his woes though six birdies spared his blushes.
Brad Shilton was the big improver among the Kiwis, he made amends for a scratchy opening round 76 by producing a classy five-under 67 - one of the smoothest completions of the early starters - to vault to one-under.
Mark Brown, who is fourth on the Order of Merit but with no realistic chance of winning, is a shot better off after underscoring his consistency with another 71.
David Smail paid the penalty for a three-over 75 to miss the cut by a shot while Mahal Pearce, Michael Long and Ryan Fox were marooned at three-over after rounds of 70, 73 and 72 respectively.
Doug Holloway was the first Kiwi to pack his bags after an 81 left him languishing among the stragglers at 14-over.
Gareth Paddison's four-over 76 also confirmed his demise at seven-over while Hamish Robertson always in line to join the casualties after a first-up 77, an effort he could only match this afternoon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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