The money&aposs just about run out and so have the excuses for James Nitties. After an injury-wracked start to his professional career, the 25-year-old Newcastle resident can no longer use his health as a convenient fall back for a long run of failures. Expressing surprise at being back in the spotlight after his six-under second-round 66 at the MFS Australian Open on Friday, Nitties spoke of the future rather than the past. “I can&apost use those excuses any more,” he said of his injury and illness problems. “The body&aposs good, I&aposve been fit, going to the gym, feeling good and it&aposs a lot easier than it was back a couple of years ago.” “It&aposs been a while (between visits to the media tent) but I&aposve been playing well for the last probably four months so after holing a couple of putts (on Friday) I knew I&aposd be back here.” Nitties signalled his arrival on the golfing scene with a runner-up placing at the 2004 Australian PGA Championship. He saw more doctors&apos prescriptions than cheques in the following three years as his health deteriorated and his career stalled. The uncertainty continues next year when he re-enters the US Nationwide Tour without status, which means slugging it out in the dreaded Monday qualifiers. It also ensures that sinking feeling with each visit to the ATM, where the account balance mirrors the struggle. “It&aposs tough not having status because I know if I had a conditional (status) or a card out there I could easily get top 25 or top 30 because you can just plan your routine and plan your schedule a lot better,” Nitties said. “I spent pretty much my bank balance over there from when I&aposve done well in previous events in the past.” “This year was sort of just scratching back, trying to get some cheques together so I could go and do the same thing next year.” His six-under 66 in lovely conditions at The Australian ensures he will be in touch with the leaders – and allow himself to dream – heading into the final two rounds “Me and my caddie were joking around about where we were going to take the trophy Sunday night,” Nitties smiled. “I mean you never expect to be thrown into the top couple.” “I scrambled well at the end of my round yesterday to finish one-under and today I just played exactly how I did yesterday and a couple of putts went in.” Meanwhile, popular Australian golfer Craig Parry admits the national championship is the trophy he covets most after storming into contention with a course record-equalling 64 in the second round. The man they call &aposPopeye&apos has strong-armed his way to a host of domestic titles but has never tasted success at the Australian Open. Asked if it was the missing link in his career, Parry said: “I would say so.” “I do remember my Australian Opens and they mean something special to me. I just have not won it.” “I have finished third probably six to eight times. I was second once or twice.” “I&aposve got close and I have played really well in the Open over the years.” “I have played since 1984 when Tom Watson played and I was the leading amateur at Royal Melbourne.” Despite moving into equal seventh with his brilliant second round, which included eight birdies, Parry is remaining cautious as he heads into the weekend. “We&aposve got a long way to go,” he warned.