Whitney Hillier – photo Golf Australia
NSW’s John Lyras and West Australian Whitney Hillier lead their respective Victorian Open fields at the halfway stage of the events being played at the 13th Beach Golf Club on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Lyras leads by three over fellow New South Wales golfer, Dimi Papadatos, with another shot back to Victorian Cameron John and Queensland’s Jake McLeod.
Lyras, who played the Beach Course in the morning draw of day two, added a round of 66 to his opening 64 and although yet to win on the PGA Tour of Australasia his recent form which included a 6th place at the Queensland PGA Championship and a 15th place at last week’s TPS Victorian Open, has suggested he is exactly where he wants to be.
“It’s not the first time I’ve done it, but this feels very different,” he said. “People out here, people following you everywhere, not Covid-effected per se. But this is why we play golf. This is where you want to be.
“You can’t get tired of it, if you love the game this much. I just want to keep doing it.”
Lyras’ best result to date on the PGA Tour of Australasia was when 4th at the Moonah Links PGA Classic last year but, clearly, he has found something with his game to allow the improved consistency he has shown of late.
Hillier has been stranded in Europe, where she is now based, since the Covid 19 pandemic began but is delighted to be playing at home and playing as well as she is.
She leads by two over the highest ranked player in the field of either gender and her fellow West Australian, Hannah Green.
“It’s just nice to be home. It’s been two years since I’ve actually been back so I’m just so happy to be quite honest,” she said.
“Obviously to be playing golf is a bonus. It’s nice to play in the heat. I’m so used to wearing jumpers and trousers. It’s just nice to be in the sun to be quite honest with you.
“I love it. It’s what I’m here for. I can’t wait for the weekend.”
Hillier has yet to win an event as a professional but she has produced several good performances on the Ladies European Tour and in 2021 recorded her best season to date.
Both the men’s and the women’s events focus on the Beach Course, one of two at the 13 Beach golfing facility for the weekend.
John Lyras – photo Golf Australia