Date: May 06, 2007

Fraser in contention

Australian Marcus Fraser may have produced a superb 66 during the second round of Milan&aposs rain-affected Italian Open, but he is four strokes behind South African leader Andrew McLardy. Helped by a decision to cut the rain-hit event from 72 to 54 holes for the third time in six years, McLardy could have a first European Tour win to celebrate along with the upcoming birth of his first child this month. McLardy moved to 14 under par, one ahead of England&aposs Nick Dougherty, with a second successive 65 at the Tolcinasco course, and was then told the forecast for possible thunderstorms meant Sunday&aposs third round will also be its last. Nick Dougherty&aposs 64, which equalled the lowest of his Tour career, lifted him into second place, one ahead of big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros (67), Austrian Markus Brier (69) and Swede Joakim Backstrom (70), the player who broke the course record with his 62 in the first round. Nearly nine hours were lost during the second day though, and players also had to wait an extra 90 minutes to resume the second round this morning. The wait hardly seemed to affect the impressive Fraser though, with the Australian carding 66 to be 10 under on the leaderboard going into the deciding day. Fraser hit birdies on the first and ninth holes going out but produced four birdies on the back nine, including three in a row from 14 to 16, to be the best placed Australian. Three strokes behind Fraser is Brett Rumford, who could only follow up his impressive 66 in the first round with a 71 to slip down the leaderboard at seven-under overall, as Andrew Tampion finished the day at four-under overall after carding a parred round. David Bransdon (71) and Matthew Zions (71) were not so fortunate, with both players missing the cut along with Terry Price (76) and Wade Ormsby (77). Results from round two of the Telecom Italia Open, Italy: -14: Andrew McLardy 65 65 -13: Nick Dougherty 67 64 -12: Joakim Backstrom 62 70, Markus Brier 63 69, Alvaro Quiros 65 67 -11: Nicolas Colsaerts 66 67 -10: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 68 66, Birgir Hafthorsson 67 67, James Heath 65 69, Martin Kaymer 69 65, Alexandre Rocha 70 64, Carlos Rodiles 67 67, Jeev Milkha Singh 69 65 -9: Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 67 68, Alastair Forsyth 68 67, Maarten Lafeber 69 66, Henrik Nystrom 67 68 -8: Garry Houston 66 70, Francesco Molinari 67 69, Charl Schwartzel 67 69, Oliver Wilson 68 68 also: -7: Brett Rumford (Australia) 66 71 -4: Andrew Tampion (Australia) 68 72