Adam Scott will hope that class and experience will prevail after he stormed to a course-record-equalling second round at the Australian Open after blowing his lead at the halfway mark.
To the delight of the large gallery, Scott fired a flawless seven-under-63 at Victoria Golf Club on Friday with a long putt for eagle from the green.
The former world No. 1 reached eight to join Victorian David Micheluzzi in the lead at the Championship.
The Melbourne sands specialist and second in the Australian Tour order after winning the WA PGA last month, Micheluzzi will not be pushing the weekend after backing up his second-round 63 with a one-under 71 at Kingston Heath on Thursday.
But taking six shots at world No.556 was a remarkable comeback for Scott after a self-confessed “disgusting” first-round 70 at Kingston Heath that featured four bogeys and a double.
“It was a good day – a lot of solid stuff and I worked my way around the course,” Scott said.
“There is a lot of trouble here and I knew every hole but I was able to get out of it most of the day, but yesterday I was in a lot of trouble.
“So I turned things around and I’m in a good position going into the weekend.”
In the year The 2009 Australian Open champion looks to be the favorite to finally get his name on the Stonehaven trophy for the second time.
He is the top-ranked player in the field and far and away the most prolific name on the leaderboard.
Scott and Micheluzzi enjoy a three-shot buffer over their closest pursuers.
Unheralded countryman Hayden Baron and New Zealand’s Josh Geary share third place at five under with little-known American Gunner Wiebe.
Scott’s US PGA Tour counterpart Cameron Percy, Belgium’s Velton Meyer, France’s Pierre Pineau and Denmark’s Nicolai Højgaard are all four back, closing in on the opening two rounds at the Victoria GC.
But since he’s been here before and hasn’t quite finished his career and won an elusive second national championship, Scott isn’t counting his chickens just yet.
I hope to be able to run in this direction tomorrow.
“If I can play well tomorrow and anyone can come with me, and if there are only a few guys in it, it will be a good place for Sunday.
“Then I might have some use from the experience.”
The top 30 players and ties will advance to the second round after Saturday’s third round to host the women’s event for the first time in Open history.
Cameron Smith will be among those trying to miraculously make up for the halfway cut.
Six hours after posting a second consecutive one-over-par round, the world No. 3 learned on Friday afternoon that he had dropped the number following a stack of rookies exiting the tournament.
But as Smith’s season continues, LIV Golf partner Marc Leishman may put the clubs away for the year.
Leishman missed the shot with a second-round 73 at Kingston Heath.