Friday, October 07, 2016

Aussie Giles leads from Snedeker and Houston in Fiji International 

Matthew Giles is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with Brandt Snedeker over the weekend after taking the midway lead at the Fiji International.
Australia's Giles added a 66 to his opening 67 on Friday at Natadola Bay Golf Course to get to 11 under and sit a single shot ahead of American Snedeker and countryman Anthony Houston.
Snedeker arrived in Fiji on the back of earning three points from three in the United States' 17-11 Ryder Cup victory over Europe and is Number 23 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Giles sits 857 places lower than that but is happy with his game and is eager to make an impression over the weekend.
"It'll be good, it's why we're here, it's why we play," he said. "It's great that he's out here and promoting the event."
Giles was the first man to make a move in the morning and went birdie-birdie on the fifth and sixth before holing a nine iron on the eighth for an eagle to open up a two-shot lead.
A dropped shot on the 11th moved him back to eight under, though, and overnight leader Houston was able to join him at that mark with a birdie on the eighth.
Giles bounced straight back with a birdie on the 12th  and when he made another on the 14th, he was the first man this week into double figures and had a two-shot lead.
He extended that to three on the next and then went bogey-birdie on the 16th and 17th as Houston and Snedeker closed the gap.
Houston added further birdies on the 15th and 17th while Snedeker extended his bogey-free run to 34 holes.
The Nashville native birdied the tenth, 15th, 17th and first and made a big move with an eagle on the par five sixth before he birdied the ninth for the second day in a row.
The wind was getting up as the first wave were finishing their rounds and tougher conditions made it difficult for any of the later starters to make an impact.
"I played solid, definitely," added Giles. "I hit a few wayward shots but I managed to limit the damage.
"I feel like my game was pretty good coming into the week. I think around here depending on the weather conditions there are holes that offer birdie chances for you. At the same time, there are a few where you just want to make a par and get out.
"I've played fairly conservatively off the tee just to try and keep the ball in play. The short game has been really good, it's probably been the best part so far. It's really allowed me, when I've hit some poor shots, to scramble out of trouble."
Australia's Jake Higginbottom birdied three of his last four holes to sign for a 70 and an eight under par total, with countryman Aaron Pike at seven under after also recording a 70.
South Korea's In-hoi Hur was then five shots off the lead alongside Australians Matthew Griffin, Stephen Leaney, Brett Rankin and Aaron Wilkin.
Australians Daniel Fox and Aron Price, Austrian Lukas Nemecz and New Zealander Brad Shilton were then all five under.
Another Kiwi, Gareth Paddison, broke the course record with a 64 to sit at four under after starting his week with a 76.





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