Melbourne - Defending champion Adam Scott was patience personified as he grafted
to a share of the lead at the Australian Masters, while American Matt
Kuchar moved quietly into contention after the second round on Friday.
US Masters champion Scott was rock-solid on another blustery day at Royal
Melbourne, shooting a flawless five-under 66 for a nine-under total of
133 and a one-shot lead with local surprise package Nathan Holman.
sublime off tee and fairway, and enjoying a perfect start with three
straight birdies, Scott had to grind his way through a frustrating run
of 11 straight pars before picking up strokes on the 15th and 17th.
"I was hoping it was going to be one of those days," Scott told reporters after burning the cups on at least half a dozen holes.
"But it definitely cooled off... It kind of feels like I plodded along. It wasn't an exciting five-under at all."
by huge galleries and enjoying a purple patch of form, the
33-year-old's bogey-free round kept his title defence on track and his
bid to sweep Australia's three marquee tournaments alive ahead of the
national Open in Sydney.
Along with Holman, Scott, who won the
Australian PGA Championship in the Gold Coast last week, sit a stroke
ahead of overnight leader Nick Cullen and fellow Australian Matt Griffin
World number eight Kuchar, warming up for his
title defence for the United States at the World Cup of Golf at the same
course next week, was alone in fifth place after carding a 66 set up by
a blistering front nine.
battled to an even-par round on Thursday, the rangy 35-year-old charged
out of the blocks with four straight birdies in his opening holes.
Kuchar stumbled with a double-bogey on the par-four 13th before finishing eagle-bogey-par-par to lie four strokes adrift.
know Adam Scott is playing some great golf," said Kuchar, a member of
the United States' Presidents Cup-winning team this year and at Royal
Melbourne in 2011.
"I am going to have to keep my front nine going for 36 more holes to catch him but it is possible."
year-old rookie Holman lit up the course early, sharing the day's best
round of six-under with Griffin, another Melbourne local, who once did
odd jobs at the famed sandbelt course as a teenager.
Having just turned professional, Holman will be paired with the tournament's top drawcard Scott in Saturday's third round.
there will be nerves but I am ready to accept the challenge and I would
love to be able to play with him and try and go head to head with him
and hopefully it is on Sunday," said the rookie, who grew up a short
drive from the course.
After a scratchy opening round of 72,
Fijian former world number one Vijay Singh carded a solid 68 to book his
place in the weekend's action. The triple major champion is seven off
Leading scores after the second round of the Australian Masters at
Royal Melbourne (par-71) on Friday (Australia unless stated):
133 - Nathan Holman 68-65, Adam Scott 67-66
134 - Nick Cullen 65-69, Matthew Griffin 69-65
137 - Matt Kuchar (USA) 71-66
138 - Brody Ninyette 68-70, Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 68-70,
Jason Norris 69-69
139 - Ryan Fox (NZL) 68-71, Peter O'Malley 68-71, Brett
Rankin 68-71, Matthew Millar 69-70, Maximilian Kieffer
140 - Vijay Singh (FIJ) 72-68, Peter Wilson 69-71, Clint
Rice 69-71, Daniel Fox 71-69, Jason Scrivener 69-71
141 - Mark Brown (NZL) 71-70, Matthew Guyatt 71-70, Anthony
Brown 68-73, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 69-72, Steve Alker (NZL)
72-69, Terry Pilkadaris 69-72, Michael Hendry (NZL) 72-69,
Rohan Blizard 71-70, Bradley Lamb 71-70
143 - Jin Jeong (KOR) 73-70, Cheng Tsung Pan
Cut made at +4 (146)