Jed Morgan the man to beat at Australian PGA

Queensland young gun Jed Morgan, whose mentors include Ricky Ponting, has opened up a sizeable lead at the Australian PGA.

Jed Morgan will adopt the “aggressive” attitude of his mentor, former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, in attempting to win the Australian PGA at Royal Queensland.

Morgan shot a course record eight-under 63 in Friday’s second round to lead the tournament at 14-under by six shots from Andrew Dodt.

Overnight leader Louis Dobbelaar failed to improve on first-round seven-under, shooting an even par 71 to be seven strokes adrift of fellow Queenslander Morgan.

“There’s plenty of guys ahead of me that have thought about winning and gone on to win, so no reason I can’t do it,” Morgan said on the prospect of lifting the Joe Kirkwood Cup on Sunday.

A former Australian amateur champion, Morgan in 2020 became the first golfer to earn a Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship.

With that came the mentorship of Ponting and Australian baseball legend Graeme Lloyd, a two-time World Series winner with the New York Yankees.

“I don’t know if I take too many words or phrases from people, but I just more take how they (Ponting and Lloyd) act,” Morgan said.

“They’re just both aggressive people, especially when they’re competing, and that’s how you’ve got to be.”

Morgan has also taken advice from star Australian golfer Cam Smith, the winner of last week’s PGA Tour Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

As part of the Cameron Smith Scholarship, Morgan, as well as Dobbelaar, stayed at Smith’s Florida home on a 2018 trip that also included four rounds of golf and a fishing expedition.

“As I’ve gotten to know him a little bit more, he continues just to get better with his view on things,” Morgan said of Smith.

“He’s really good at advice. He’s pretty smart in terms of how he works.

“He doesn’t exert really much energy elsewhere apart from where it’s important, which is probably the biggest thing I’ve taken from him.”

Morgan – whose 14-under score is the lowest 36-hole-to-par total at an Australian PGA since Peter Senior’s two-round score of 15-under at Coolum in 2003 – also has a fan in 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy, who is this week’s field at Royal Queensland.

“He hits it miles, (has) a great head on his shoulders, (is a) really good kid, (has) got the complete game and he’s at home this week,” Ogilvy said.

“I don’t know how many people picked him but everybody probably should have. He should have been in the top two or three in the conversation.”

Ogilvy likened Morgan’s two-round performance to that of a then 21-year-old Greg Norman’s winning effort at the 1976 West Lakes Classic in Adelaide.

It was Norman’s first victory as professional.

“My parents have been dining out forever that they saw Greg win the West Lakes Classic in 1976,” former world No.3 Ogilvy said.

“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.”

A rusty Ogilvy is expected to miss the cut after rounds of 72 and 73 left him at three-over par.

“It’s pretty average but I haven’t really played very much,” said Ogilvy, who has contested just four official tournaments in the past two years.

“My body’s a bit out of shape. Sitting down at a desk doing zoom meetings for the last two years hasn’t really done my golf any favours.

“There was a lot of good stuff. I played better (on Thursday). I had a bit of a sore neck (on Friday) and I had a little bit of a headache because of that so it was a little bit weird.”

Meanwhile, Jarryd Felton was disqualified from the tournament after signing an incorrect scorecard on Friday.

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