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Home town hero sets cracking pace in second round of Australian PGA

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Regular chats with Ricky Ponting and a fishing trip with world No.10 Cameron Smith have steeled Jed Morgan as the Australian PGA leader eyes the title.

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On his home Royal Queensland Golf Club track, the newly turned professional shot an eight-under 63 – a course record for the newly designed layout – to finish 14-under on Friday.

The 21-year-old led by a staggering six shots midway through the day as overnight pacesetter Louis Dobbelaar endured an even-par round to remain seven-under.

Andrew Dodt recorded a five-under 66 to sit in second at eight-under, while Anthony Quayle (six-under on Friday) was another big mover after a one-over opening round.

With no US-based stars in the field, the stage is set for a new face to announce themselves with US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy cheekily suggesting after his round that Morgan could be the “next Greg Norman.”

The beneficiary of a Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship, Morgan has struck a bond with assigned mentors Ponting and former Major League Baseball pitcher Graeme Lloyd.

“The pair of them have just opened up their insight and dealing with this sort of stuff,” said Morgan, who saluted to the swelling crowd as he nailed his eighth birdie to complete a memorable round.

“I don’t take too many words or phrases from people, just how they act and they’re both aggressive people and especially when they’re competing that’s how you’ve got to be.”

And he enjoyed a day out on fellow Brisbane product Smith’s boat last month in Florida, attempting to catch sailfish and grouper with the man who earned a record-breaking win on the Tour last week.

“He’s got an awesome look on things and as I’ve got to know him a bit more he’s really good with advice, pretty smart in terms of how he works, doesn’t exert energy where it’s not important,” Morgan said.

The tournament, back at RQ for the first time since 2001, wasn’t contested in 2020 and then delayed until early this year due to COVID-19.

That delay meant all of the country’s US-based stars were unable to attend, leaving a wide-open field of Australia’s emerging talent fighting for the $180,000 first prize.

US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy finished three-over and will likely miss the cut, reserving his praise for the new course record holder.

“I don’t know how many people picked him but everybody probably should have,” he said.

“He’s got the golf world at his feet, if it all works out, and he plays well and he takes his opportunities.

“My parents have been dining out forever that they saw Greg Norman win the West Lakes Classic in 1976.

“Nobody knew who he was and he turned up and he won, and the rest is history.

“That goes here. Jed might be Greg Norman.”

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