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Schoolboy keeps pressure on in WA Open

Sydney schoolboy Jeff Guan continues to pour pressure on a strong field of professionals in the $150,000 WA Open golf tournament.

Guan shot a five-under 67 at Royal Fremantle on Friday to trail only home state leader Braden Becker by one shot after the second round.

The 17-year-old amateur boosted his score with eagles on the par-5 sixth and 11th holes, holing out from a bunker at the 11th.

Coached by Matt Jones’ mentor Gary Barter, the highly-regarded youngster is known for his smart course management and says he will stick to his own game over the weekend.

“It feels really exciting,” said Guan, who is studying in year 12. “I’ve never been in that position before, especially on the pro tour.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Playing in the afternoon, Becker took the lead at 12 under after a second consecutive 66 and has yet to drop a shot in the tournament.

“I need to keep plodding along,” said Becker, who is seeking his first tour win.

“I’ve been in this position enough times, and I keep not throwing in a bad round, just a couple of shots here and there slip away and end up not scoring as well as I’m playing.

“Golf tournaments are four rounds each, not three or two.”

Nathan Barbieri sits outright third, two shots behind Guan after a 69, with fellow NSW pros James Grierson (68) and Austin Bautista (70) a further shot back in a tie for fourth.

Sitting fourth in the Australasian tour’s Order of Merit with one further event remaining, Dimi Papadatos is well placed to challenge over the weekend from tied sixth at seven under alongside Kevin Yuan (NSW, 69), Aaron Pike (Qld, 68) and Tim Hart (Qld, 68).

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