Date: April 26, 2008

Scott fires into lead

Adam Scott&aposs decision to cut short a holiday in his native Australia to enter the EDS Byron Nelson Championship paid off today as he fired a three-under-par 67 at the Four Seasons TPC. He made a blazing start to his second round, gathering birdies at his first four holes before hanging on in tough conditions. “It was a fast start but after that was a bit of a battle, a fair bit of scrambling going on,” Scott said after posting a five-under halfway total of 135, one shot better than fellow Australians Mark Hensby (67) and Mathew Goggin (69) and Californian Scott McCarron (66). “The conditions were tricky. It was hard to hit fairways and hard to hit greens. It would have been nice to get a couple more (birdies) after my start this morning, but I&aposm pretty happy. I&aposm still in good shape.” World number 10 Scott, the highest-ranked player in the field, won the European Tour&aposs Qatar Masters with a brilliant closing 61, but has not otherwise made many headlines. He was a never a factor at the Masters, but battled on to finish tied for 25th, certainly no disgrace but not quite what he had in mind. “I&aposve played pretty good all year,” he said. “I haven&apost scored at my best but it&aposs been a matter of putting four days together. That&aposs why I came back. I felt I was still playing good and shouldn&apost waste that (time) at home.” Scott&aposs 67 was one of the better scores in winds that whipped to more than 30mph, with Frank Lickliter&aposs 65 the day&aposs best round. If Scott&aposs lead was little surprise, Hensby&aposs position just one shot back was – he has had a terrible start to the year, making just two cuts in nine starts. “It&aposs been getting a little better, but not much is happening,” said Hensby, who recently started working with swing coach Mike Bender, whose most prominent client is Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion. McCarron has also endured lean times, not playing at all last year as he recovered from elbow surgery. “It was about a year and one month until I was able to swing and hit balls without too much pain,” he said. “Even then, your brain doesn&apost allow you to swing freely because you&aposre waiting for the pain. I played for seven months (before the surgery) with it completely torn off the bone, so that was a lot of pain on every shot.” McCarron has made only two cuts in seven starts this year, so his performance was a breath of fresh air. “It played very, very tough, a lot of crosswinds, but I played real well,” he said. Only eight strokes separated the 76 players who made the cut. Among those bowing out were Trevor Immelman and John Daly. Not that either&aposs early exit was surprising as Immelman is clearly weary after his Masters triumph, while Daly&aposs form this year has been woeful. Second Round of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship (Par 70): -5: Adam Scott (Australia) 68 67 -4: Mark Hensby (Australia) 69 67, Scott McCarron 70 66, Matthew Goggin (Australia) 67 69 -3: Ryan Moore 67 70, Justin Leonard 71 66, Parker McLachlin 68 69, Charley Hoffman 69 68, Roland Thatcher 69 68 -2: Frank Licklitter II 73 65, Bart Bryant 72 66, Kevin Sutherland 68 70, Kevin Na 71 67, Jesper Parnevik 68 70 -1: John Mallinger 73 66, Joe Ogilvie 70 69, Todd Hamilton 71 68, Tommy Armour III 69 70, Stuart Deane (Australia) 70 69, Hunter Mahan 71 68, Kenny Perry 72 67, Brian Gay 72 67 Also: E: Nick Flanagan (Australia) 71 69 +1: John Senden (Australia) 73 68, Michael Sim (Australia) 70 71 +3: Stephen Leaney (Australia) 71 72, Nathan Green (Australia) 72 71 +4: Steve Elkington (Australia) 73 71, Matt Jones (Australia) 74 70 +5: Steve Allan (Australia) 70 75, David Lutterus (Australia) 74 71 +6: Rod Pampling (Australia) 76 70 +10: Tim Wilkinson (New Zealand) 72 78