Date: October 05, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Fraser tames testing Carnoustie

Marcus Fraser has always had an affinity with tough links courses and it shone through today as the Aussie veteran grabbed a share of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Fraser, 40, finds himself in a battle to keep his full European Tour privileges for next year, but you wouldn't have known it as he carded a superb four-under-par 68 at windswept Carnoustie.

It was one of only two sub-par scores at the typically rugged host venue of the 2018 Open Championship and enough to share the lead of the famous tournament, played over three courses in the St Andrews region.

England's Matt Wallace, already a three-time winner this season, fired at the Old Course to share top spot, one clear of five players at three under.

And capping a great day for Australia, Lucas Herbert continued his fine form to card a 70 on the Old Course, leaving him in a share of eighth alongside a couple of Ryder Cup players, Tyrell Hatton and Brooks Koepka.

But Fraser, arguably, is in pole position after confronting Carnoustie before he moves to the Old Course and Kingsbarns in coming days.

Fraser, of Corowa on the Murray River and currently 175th in the Race to Dubai rankings, has just two top-20s this season but is looking for a fourth victory in his 350th European Tour event and was delighted to rediscover his form at the perfect moment.

"Over the moon," he said.

"I just sort of stuck it out most of the day and waited for the putts to drop and at the end I made a couple of good par saves. A nice long one at the end (the ninth hole) from about 30 feet.

"It's brutal out there. Doesn't really matter if it's into the wind or downwind and then you get the cross-breeze off eight and nine. That's as strong as I've played the golf course, I think."

Fraser began on the 10th hole and birdied the 12th, 14th and 16th to hit the front early.

He bogeyed the fourth but hit back on the seventh and was visibly happy with his closing birdie.

Victorian Herbert, who's on the cusp of the top 60 players who make the Dubai finals next month, was three under at the turn at the home of golf before back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th.

But he, too, had a closing birdie to climb back into the top 10 after his recent runner-up finish in the Portugal Masters.

West Australian Jason Scrivener also continued his good form with a 71 at Kingsbarns, while New South Welshman Jordan Zunic is handy at +1 from his round at Carnoustie.

Andrew Dodt, Scott Hend, Jake McLeod and Sam Brazel all had +2 at Kingsbarns, while Adelaide's Wade Ormsby had +3 at the Old Course to match the scores of Adam Bland and James Marchesani at Carnoustie.

Brett Rumford had +4 at the Old Course, while Deyen Lawson and Jason Norris had the same score at Carnoustie.