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Aussie world No.806 Barron leads in Qatar Masters

3 minute read

The Australian duo of Haydn Barron and Harrison Endycott are in command at halfway in the Qatar Masters, leading in the race for the $A650,000 first prize.

HARRISON ENDYCOTT Picture: Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Haydn Barron and Harrison Endycott are looking forward to a reunion when the two Aussie buddies go title hunting at the head of the Qatar Masters field on third-round moving day, both in sight of a career-changing win.

The unsung Barron, in his first European Tour season since battling through Q School in November, is leading the field at halfway by two shots on nine under par after shooting a flawless five-under 67 at the Doha Golf Club on Friday.

And the late-blooming 28-year-old Perth golfer is being pursued by another Aussie riser in Endycott, who also went bogey-free in his four-under 68 to be tied for second alongside Japan's Rikuya Hoshino (68).

Barron, the world no.806, and the 345th-ranked Endycott suddenly find themselves in the driving seat in the chase for easily the biggest triumph of their careers, with a $US 425,000 ($A650,000) prize awaiting the winner.

And on learning that they were likely to be paired in the last group in Saturday's third round, the 27-year-old Endycott smiled: "I haven't seen Haydn in years!

"I've spoken to him briefly this week, he's been playing well. I've been noticing a lot of the Aussies and I watch all of these guys and they are fun to play with.

"It will be good to shoot the old memories, as they say. So it should be fun."

For Barron, who became a part-time greenkeeper at his local Western Australian Golf Club during golf's difficult COVID-hit days while nearly giving up on his career, these are heady times and he can hardly believe how his fortunes have been transformed recently.

Reflecting on a week in which he'd celebrated his 28th birthday on Thursday, Barron smiled: "It's been a good one.

"Today got off to a bit of a slow start, with nine pars in a row on the front nine when conditions were pretty calm and it was a bit frustrating not to make anything."

But on the home stretch for the second day running, he was in inspired form, taming what he called "a beats of a course" by recording five birdies in nine holes even with the wind getting up. As on Thursday, he again birdied the final three holes.

"The putts had been sliding by but then I hit one just through the green up on 10 and chipped it close for my first birdie, and then kind of felt a bit of momentum and rolled a couple in coming home."

Sydneysider Endycott's round took a similar path to his old friend's as it only really took off when he arrowed a magnificent approach over the rocks to within four foot at the 12th hole to ignite a three-birdie inward stretch.

Coming off the back of an impressive Bahrain Championship, Endycott reckoned he was reaping the benefits of a tough four-week competitive slog.

"When you are playing week after week after week, the repetition and scoring gets better. I feel like my scoring around here is better than it was last week. I feel like I'm a good spot going into the weekend."

There'll be plenty of tough competition for the Aussie duo, though, with in-form South African Zander Lombard and Denmark's Niklas Norgaard both looming in joint-fourth at six under.


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