Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tom Watson roles back the years in Australia

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

MARCUS Fraser leads the Australian Open by one shot but day two belonged to Tom Watson after the veteran American carded a classy four-under 68 to make the cut by a solitary stroke at The Lakes.

Fraser carded his second-straight round of three-under 69 in benign morning conditions to get to six under for the tournament, one clear of Brendan Jones (71) and overnight leader John Senden.

It was a rollercoaster round for Senden who posted five bogeys and four birdies in the worst of the testing afternoon conditions en route to a disappointing one-over 73.

South Australia's Nick Cullen is in outright fourth at minus four after carding a solid 70 in the afternoon.

He sits one clear of a group of six golfers that includes Steven Jones (68) and Englishman Justin Rose, who matched Senden's one-over 73.

Rose, who began the day two shots behind the overnight leader, started well with four birdies on the front nine to momentarily hold the outright lead at seven under.

But the world number four produced a dramatic collapse on the way home, carding four bogeys in six holes to finish the day at minus three for the championship.

Pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott battled his swing and the conditions to post a one-under 71 and remain within striking distance at one under.

The world number seven avoided disaster on the par-five 11th, producing arguably the shot of the day to save par after dunking his second shot in the water.

Scott knocked his fourth shot from 175 yards to five feet and drained the putt.

That seemed to spark the Queenslander who added two birdies in his last five holes to get into red numbers.

While the afternoon groups found the going tough, eight-time major champion Tom Watson bounced back on The Lakes layout after an opening 78 on Thursday.

The 63-year-old began his second round on the back nine, making four birdies in six holes to turn in a four-under 33.

His only blemish of the day came at the par-four third but the American dug deep to produce a crucial birdie at the par-five 8th to get to two over alongside defending champion Greg Chalmers (75).

Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang will miss the weekend action but showed his immense talent with a two-under par 70 to finish at plus eight.

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