Golf: Guyatt easing into celebrity status

Matthew Guyatt of Australia tees of during day two of the Australia Masters. Photo / Getty Images
Matthew Guyatt of Australia tees of during day two of the Australia Masters. Photo / Getty Images

Australian Masters leader Matthew Guyatt is embracing his new-found celebrity status but is unsure how he'll handle the pressure of playing in the last group tomorrow.

The 37-year-old Queenslander started yesterday's second round at Melbourne's Kingston Heath with a two-shot buffer which he still held when he left the course.

His three-under second-round 69, combined with his opening-day 65, leaves him 10-under at the tournament's mid-point.

New Zealand's Michael Hendry was in second place on eight-under, also in the clubhouse. Hendry started the day tied for second on five-under, with tournament favourites Adam Scott and Ian Poulter.

Defending champion Poulter failed to make any ground while Scott had just started his round, with Tasmania's Craig Hancock having moved into third spot on six-under.

Guyatt said leading the tournament on Thursday night had prompted contact from many friends and a meeting with Richmond AFL star forward Jack Riewoldt, who gave him a football.

He got plenty of crowd support yesterday, something he welcomed, interacting freely with spectators.

But the support that meant most came from his family and the 78-year-old benefactor who he met by chance two years ago and has since helped fund his return to the professional circuit after a long absence.

Guyatt said the benefactor, busy with business meetings on Thursday, had been blown away when told who was leading the Masters.

"He just about fell over.

"He's 78 years of age so I was just hoping he hadn't had a heart attack.

"He hadn't - he was very excited. He's had the belief since he first played with me.

"I think yesterday, that was a great thing for me as well and I said that to him, I thanked him for his belief in me and it feels like it's been a little bit vindicated," Guyatt added, as tears welled in his eyes.

His 3-year-old daughter's reaction also warmed Guyatt's heart.

"She was watching it on TV apparently and, every time I holed a putt, she was like 'Yes daddy'.

"That's special," he said.

He expected friends from Queensland to head to Melbourne over the weekend.

But he admitted he would be nervous today and wasn't sure whether his belief was as strong as that of those backing him.

"That's the battle, I think, that players in my position face," Guyatt said. "The belief that you've got enough game - the belief that you're good enough.

"I think I'm starting to get there."

- AAP

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