Sam Jones has raised the bar at The Clubroom Gulf Harbour Open storming into the lead at the midway point at Gulf Harbour Country Club.

Teeing off this morning, Jones made the most of the benign conditions early on tearing up the front nine on his way to an impressive round of nine-under 63 following his opening round of 72.

He took some notes off his playing partner Harry Bateman who shot an astonishing round of 64 yesterday in tough and wet conditions to take the overnight lead. Jones hunted him down with a barrage of birdies early on to make his presence known.

He began the day with a birdie at the first followed by two pars to kickstart his day. Jones then rattled off four birdies in a row from the fourth and then another at the ninth to make the turn at six-under.

The Taranaki amateur then began the back nine the same way he did the front with a birdie at the 10th to get to seven-under for the day and was at the time, was a shot back of Bateman and Ryan Fox.

Jones made another birdie at the 12th and then again at the 17th to take the tournament ascendency.

His birdie putt at the last for 62 slid by, but he says he’ll take it after not feeling like he had his best stuff on the range this morning.

“Today was really good. I was actually hitting it terribly on the range this morning so today definitely came as a bit of a surprise. I’ve been struggling a bit off the tee, but I’ve been getting away with it so far this week.

“I managed to hit some good iron shots and I made a few putts and it felt pretty easy out there which was nice,” he explains.

Jones got a ball-striking display put in front of him in the first round as Bateman shot the round of the day to lead by three in the first round, which inspired him ahead for round two.

He says he took some notes last night which helped him today.

“I played with Harry [Bateman] yesterday who shot eight-under and he made it look really easy, so I was just trying to emulate that; hit it on the fairway, hit it on the green, and hole the putt. I actually wrote that down in my notebook after yesterday as I’m just trying to keep everything really simple.”

Just a single shot back is his fellow Golf New Zealand National Academy member Tyler Wood who had the round of the afternoon today.

Wood fired a second round of 67 after his opening round of 69 to be at eight-under for the tournament.

He got off to a flyer opening with three birdies on the trot to get to six-under for the tournament early in his round. Wood made bogeys at the fifth and seventh with a birdie thrown in at the sixth to make the turn at two-under par.

The Ngahinepouri Golf Club member made three birdies on the back at holes 11, 13, and 18 to finish a shot adrift of Jones.

He says he’s looking forward to playing with his mate tomorrow.

“I played with him a couple of weeks ago at Paraparaumu Beach [for the Renaissance Brewing New Zealand Stroke Play Championship] and it’ll be good to have another game with him. I’m not staying with him this week so I’m sure we will have a good day out there and have a couple of long drive comps tomorrow,” he laughs.

Wood says his game is in good shape heading into the weekend.

“I’ve played really well over the last two days. I’ve made a lot of birdies and it was just a matter of shaving off some of the bogeys that I made yesterday and I think I did a good job of that. My game is really good shape heading into the weekend so we’ll see what happens,” Wood says.

Overnight leader Harry Bateman is tied with Wood at eight-under, with Fox a further shot back at seven-under.

Play gets underway for round three at 8.30am Saturday.

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