Bautista shoots 61, goes clear in NT PGA

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Austin Bautista has shot a course record 10-under-par 61 to grab a four-shot halfway lead in the Australasian Tour's season-ending NT PGA Championship.

The 25-year-old from Sydney strung together 10 birdies and an eagle as he picked apart the Palmerston course south of Darwin in Friday's second round to get to 15 under 127.

He leads from Kade McBride of Queensland who posted a 66 to be one shot clear of third-placed Adam Blyth (Qld) who shot a 63.

Bautista covered the front nine in seven-under 29, making his eagle on the par 5 ninth, and mixed bogeys at 11 and 14 with five birdies on the back nine.

Former top amateur Bautista quit golf for about two years from 2018 to volunteer with humanitarian aid organisations overseas before rehoning his game on the mini tours in the US.

"It's not often you turn in seven so as soon as you hit seven you're like, 'What do I have to do to get that magic number (59)?'" said Bautista, who has shot 11-under 61s twice in the US.

"In the past couple of events I've kind of gone into the frame of mind of competing against the other guy. Everyone out here is a great player but it sets the bar, and I don't want to do that anymore.

"I've gotten rid of that mentality and just play your game because you can take it as low as you want. It paid dividends today."

Defending NT PGA champion Pike shot a 66 to be tied fourth at nine under with David Micheluzzi (Vic, 69), Daniel Gale (NSW, 69) and Michael Wright (Qld, 65).

The NT PGA features a competition within a competition as the top five finishers of the tour's Order of Merit are finalised this weekend.

The top three on the OOM get DP World Tour cards and the top five get entry to the Korn Ferry Tour final qualifying. In addition the top two can claim starts in Greg Norman's rich LIV Golf Series opening tournament outside London next month.

The top two - Jed Morgan and Blake Windred - are both absent from this event with Morgan having already clinched top spot.

Third-placed on the OOM, Andrew Dodt shot a 70 to be tied 20th at four under.

Less than $1000 behind Dodt in fourth on the OOM, Dimi Papadatos shot 69 to share 14th at six under.

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