Mark Hale and John Betland showed flashes of brilliance throughout the opening two rounds of the NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club, but ultimately missed the cut.
Two of the Central West District Golf Association’s best, Mudgee’s Hale and Forbes gun Betland qualified for the 2017 event at Luddenham in Sydney’s west and endured mixed rounds against the country’s best professional and amateur players.
Betland fired a two-over round of 74 on day one and after two birdies in the first three holes during Friday’s second round look set to make a charge at the cut.
But the Forbes champion hit a double bogey on four, and then four bogeys and a birdie to eventually finish with rounds of 74 and 75 for a two-round scratch total of 149, placing him in the back half of the field.
Hale, though, fired in the second round, hitting 73 off the stick in what was an up-and-down round for the Mudgee gun.
Hale went even through the first four holes of the day before going triple bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey, birdie to complete the front nine one over.
An even par back nine netted the Bathurst Open champion a one-over par second round, but an opening scratch round of 77 pushed Hale a shot further back from Betland on the overall leader board at plus-six.
Hale, though, produced one of the highlights of the tournament when he eagled the par four, 12th on day one, his approach shot finding the cup and generating a raucous response from the gallery.
Betland bagged his place in the 2017 NSW Open after a thrilling playoff win in the Forbes Open.
At time of print, American Kramer Hickok and Western Australia ace Jarryd Felton enjoyed a share of the lead at 12-under following identical rounds of 66 and 66 over heading into rounds three and four on Saturday and Sunday.