SYDNEY: Adam Scott bounced back with a course record five-under-par 66 to surge into contention midway through the second round of the Australian Open in Sydney on Friday.
The world number three recovered from a shaky three-over 74 in the opening round to be just one shot behind clubhouse leaders American Jordan Spieth and fellow Australian Aron Price.
US Masters runner-up Spieth, the overnight leader, fought back with a birdie at the last for a one-over 72 to be three-under overall for the tournament, while Price has an afternoon hit-off.
World number one Rory McIlroy, who also had an afternoon tee-off, was well in the mix at his overnight two-under in ideal sunny playing conditions.
McIlroy is the defending champion after he overhauled Scott with a birdie at the final hole to win last year’s tournament at Royal Sydney in what was his only 2013 tournament success.
Scott’s round was credited as a course record at the reconfigured par-71 The Australian course, but he didn’t expect it to last long.
“We’ll see how long that lasts,” Scott said.
“We had a good morning for it so I had to take advantage just for the sake of getting myself back into the tournament.
“I guess it’s fun to shoot a course record, I’m pretty sure it won’t hold up for the rest of the week.”
Scott, who teed off at the 10th hole, had a much better time than on Thursday with an eagle and three birdies in an unblemished round after three bogeys and a double-bogey in his opening 18 holes.
“Yesterday I got off to a bad start and in the wind it was tricky and I didn’t scramble when I had to early in the round and it was slipping away from me,” Scott said.
“Today it didn’t start much better, I was scrambling, but I scrambled well, and then all of sudden I made eagle at 14 and momentum is on your side then.”
Scott’s round was highlighted by an eagle putt of three metres off a splendid five-iron approach at the par-five 14th followed by birdies at the 16th and 18th holes.
The Australian only had one birdie on his homeward nine, putting off the green at the sixth hole.
“It’s an incredible different feeling of being two under to two over and about how you feel about the state of your game,” Scott said.
Veteran Australian Robert Allenby also relished the calm morning conditions with a two-under 69 to be two-under for the tournament.
Rod Pampling fired five birdies in his four-under 67 to also be two-under. AFP