Date: December 07, 2007
Author: Andrew Browne at Coolum

Scott remains cautious

World No.6 Adam Scott leads at the halfway mark of the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship at Coolum as he seeks to claim his first professional victory on home soil. But the Queenslander&aposs second-successive five-under 67, which leaves him on minus 10 after 36 holes, leads by only a shot from dual winner Peter Lonard and South African world No.11 Rory Sabbatini. Scott went out in 33 despite a bogey at the sixth, and picked up further shots at the 12th, 15th and 16th holes to go two clear of the field but a bogey at the 17th kept his lead to a shot. His day wasn&apost all plain sailing though, with his second shot at the par-five 15th leaving him under trees, but he pitched out of the rough to make birdie and then had further good fortune when his tee shot at 16 hit trees and bounced back onto the fairway. “Yeah it was a good round again, especially with the windy conditions today out there,” Scott said. “It was pretty solid stuff, good ball-striking again and I made a few putts, everything was pretty good.” Sabbatini backed up his Thursday 68 with a bogey-free 67, while Lonard added a 69 to his opening 66, and that pair is one clear of Cameron Percy, whose 66 was the equal best round of the day, his fellow Victorian Scott Laycock (67) and Kiwi David Smail (69). Lonard twice collected birdies early in the back nine, only to make bogey within two holes as he dropped a shot at the course for the first time since the final round of the 2005 event. But he added a pair of birdies before the turn to jump to the top and then similarly answered his third bogey of the day at the fourth with two more birdies at the seventh and eighth holes. Like Lonard, Sabbatini felt that he didn&apost play all that well despite making birdies at the 11th and 13th holes and then following up with further joy at the second, seventh and eighth holes. Percy had to overcome a disrupted build-up to the tournament that included the delayed arrival of his clubs and luggage from the USA, finally getting his own bag back in time to collect nine birdies and three bogeys. Michael Brennan grabbed a quintet of birdies en route to a 68 and equal seventh alongside Craig Parry (72), Luke Hickmott (67), Steve Conran (68), Adam Bland (70) and overnight leader Michael Sim (73). Sim&aposs Thursday 65 remains the low round of the event so far, and he opened brilliantly with eagle at the 12th to join Lonard and Sabbatini at minus nine, but he handed both of those strokes and another back. At five-under and tied for 13th place are Scott Gardiner, Brad Kennedy and American JB Holmes, who shared the lead on the back nine before stumbling with a double bogey at 15 and a triple at the last as he shot 73. Like Thursday, when a run of seven birdies in 10 holes was undone by a triple bogey and a double bogey on the way to a 70, Gardiner again had his share of ups and downs with nine birdies, a double bogey and four bogeys. Marcus Cain (68), Nathan Green (69) and Richard Green (74) are among those in 18th place on four-under, and MFS Australian Open champion John Senden (72), Peter O&aposMalley (69), Marcus Fraser (72) and Gavin Coles (73) share 25th on minus three. Defending champion Nick O&aposHern had a quiet day, his 72 leaving him in a tie for 35th on two-under with Kiwi Michael Long (74) and Brett Rumford (69), while Wayne Grady (69) and Steven Bowditch (74) share 45th on minus one. Sabbatini and Lonard&aposs playing partner Stuart Appleby had a much steadier day on Friday after starting the tournament with a 78, but his 71 left him at plus five and among those who won&apost make the cut. With the mark at even-par, Peter Fowler (70 for plus one), Kevin Stadler (70 for plus two), Mark Hensby (71 for two-over), Brandt Snedeker (72 for plus two) and Peter Senior (77 for three-over) also missed out.