Jake Higginbottom leads fellow Australian golfers Cameron Smith, Steven Jeffress and Andrew Dodt by two shots after the second round of the Fiji event.
Young Australian golfer Jake Higginbottom stormed into the outright lead after Friday’s second round of the inaugural Fiji International at Natadola Bay.
Starting the day co-leading with six other players, Higginbottom took advantage of his morning tee time to fire a three-under-par 69.
At seven under at the halfway mark, the 20-year-old New South Welshman holds a two-shot lead over fellow Australians Cameron Smith, Steven Jeffress and Andrew Dodt.
Higginbottom, in his second year on the OneAsia tour, sank four birdies and made only one bogey.
He is relaxed heading into the weekend and feels his game is in good shape to win the title.
“It’s still a challenge to be leading after the second round, but it’s always a great position to be in.
“That’s why we play to be in a position to win,” said Higginbottom who won the New Zealand Open as an amateur in 2012.
“I mean, it’s a great course. It’s pretty challenging especially when the wind gets up. But I feel I’ve worked out how to play it. You have to be smart and aggressive.”
Firing the round of the day of four-under 68, Queenslander Smith was hot with his putter.
“If you want to be in contention every week, you have to putt well. The greens are very tricky and I putted well on them today,” said Smith who celebrates his 21st birthday on Monday.
Jeffress is wary going into the third round.
“I played here 20 or 30 times, long enough to know that a lead can disappear very quickly so I show the course a lot of respect.”
Fijian crowds were delighted to see Vijay Singh make the cut despite battling a back injury.
“In the beginning, I was a little sore, I was kind of protecting my back but then I thought I’m not going to play well if I keep making that an excuse,” said Singh.
“It’s sore every time I hit, but it’s nothing I’m not used to. I’ve been playing with it for a while now. It’s not going to stop me from trying to play good golf.”
Shooting two over on Friday to be three over for the tournament and 10 shots off the lead, Singh still believes he can work himself into contention.
“I’ve been through one hurdle which is trying to play on the weekend. I’m going to be a lot more aggressive, I’m going out early and hopefully the wind stays down,” added Singh.
“I’m still in the game. The leader’s at seven under so he’s got all the pressure. It’s not an easy golf course. If I can shoot three, four, five under tomorrow, we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”