Date: November 11, 2011
Author: Steve Orme at the Lakes, Sportal

Tiger leads at halfway

Tiger Woods is the man to catch in the Emirates Australian Open after carding a sizzling five-under 67 on Friday to hold a one-shot lead at the halfway stage. The former world No.1 began the day three shots behind overnight leader Jarrod Lyle but took full advantage of the benign morning conditions to storm to the top of the leaderboard. Woods started his round at the par-four 10th at 7.25am local time and birdied five of his first nine holes to make the turn in five-under 32. In front of the majority of the 18,000 fans that flocked to the course on day two, the 35-year-old mixed two birdies and two bogeys on the way home to sit one shot clear of Lakes member Peter O&aposMalley (66). O&aposMalley fired six birdies and was the only player not to make a bogey on the way to the low round of the day. The shot of the day belonged to Victorian Stephen Allan (74) who made a hole in one at the par-three 15th in the morning wave. Jason Day, who partnered Woods in the opening two rounds, is in solo third at minus seven after carding a solid 68 that featured five birdies and a solitary bogey. Big hitting American Bubba Watson is in fourth spot after posting a respectable two-under 70 in the blustery afternoon conditions to be six-under overall, one clear of Nick Watney (73), Matt Jones (70), Greg Chalmers (72), Rohan Blizard (70) and Lyle (74). Lyle joined Woods in a share of first place with two early birdies but three late bogeys denied him the chance to play in the final pairing on Saturday. Pre tournament favourite Adam Scott is within striking distance at four under after signing for a one-under 71 that included an eagle and a double bogey to trail Woods by five shots. World No.5 Dustin Johnson struggled to a three-over 75 to sit at minus three with United States Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples (74) and 2006 champion John Senden. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy produced an eagle at the par-five 17th to survive the halfway cut, which fell at two over, by two shots. Two-time champion Aaron Baddeley battled a wayward driver to card a 71 and is also level with the card. Veteran Greg Norman scraped in by a single shot after battling to a 74, but highly-rated American Matt Kuchar missed the cut by a shot after a 73. But former champions Robert Allenby (73) and Craig Parry (78) will both have the weekend off after finishing at plus four, while Stuart Appleby carded a disastrous 79 to finish plus 11. American Presidents Cup team member Hunter Mahan was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a neck injury before the start of play, while Australian Michael Curtain also succumbed to a shoulder injury.