Surviving seven weeks in seven different countries, and neck surgery two years ago, Australian Marcus Fraser fired his second -3 under par 69 to take the lead at the Emirates Australian Open on Friday. He has a one stroke advantage over first round leader, John Senden who played in the afternoon wind. The big story in Australia is the 63 year old American who shot a -4 under par 68 in the afternoon to make the cut.
Once again, golfers teeing it up early at the Lakes Golf Course in Sydney Australia took advantage of the benign conditions to make some birdies before the winds came up. Marcus Fraser started his day at the 10th hole, and got three birdies on the score card before making the turn. He gave back a couple of strokes on the third and ninth holes, but his Hole in One on Friday at the 15th hole has given him a one stroke lead over John Senden.
Senden, playing in the afternoon conditions, fired a one over par 73, to fall to -5 for the tournament, and one shot off of the pace. Starting his round on the front nine, he just couldn’t get anything going in the wind. He fell into a second place tie with Brenden Jones who carded a -1 under par 71.
Justin Rose, who came to Australia with high hopes after playing so well in Dubai, carded a second round +1 over par 73, to finish in a tie for fifth place at -3 under par with Matthew Goggins, Gareth Paddison, Richard Greene, and Steven Jones.
Tournament favorite coming into this event, Adam Scott shot another consecutive even par 72 on Friday and is tied with some other big names in 27th position. Nick O’Hern and Stuart Appelby, who both have shared time on the PGA Tour, are at even par.
It looked on Thursday that after shooting an opening round 78, the 1984 Australian Open Champ, Tom Watson was probably done. Never count the old guy out. He came back with a flurry on Friday, and in the afternoon winds, shot a -4 under 68 to make the cut by one stroke. Watson began his day on the back nine, and after back to back birdies at 13 and 14, then again at 17 and 18, made the turn at four under par. He bogeyed the par 4 third hole, and went to nine, knowing he needed birdie to make the cut, and did so. He is at 2 over par for the tournament, eight strokes back. The leaders better keep an eye out, the old guy is coming.
The leading American is Kyle Stanley, who followed his opening round 72 with a -1 under performance on Friday to pull into a nine way tie for 16th place.
After going birdie-less on Thursday, Amateur Guan Tianlang from China, carded a -2 under par 70 on Friday to get to a two over total. With the cut being at one over par, he will not play the weekend. The youngster picked up some valuable experience that hopefully will help him get ready for his trip to Augusta in April.
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