Watson and Fraser shine at Australian Open

DARREN WALTON
Last updated 15:13 07/12/2012
Tom Watson
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TOM WATSON: Has been named US Ryder Cup captain for 2014.

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American great Tom Watson wowed the morning galleries as Marcus Fraser rode the momentum of his magical first-day hole-in-one all the way to the clubhouse lead during the second round of the Australian Open at The Lakes.

With overnight leader John Senden teeing off on Friday afternoon, Fraser matched his first-round 69 to move to six-under-par for the championship.

While he was unable to repeat his first-round ace on the 184-metre par-3 15th, Fraser compiled five birdies to join Senden atop the leaderboard.

Fraser mixed birdies on the sixth, seventh, 13th, 14th and 17th holes with bogeys on three and nine to nudge ahead of the chasing pack led by fellow New South Welshman Brendan Jones.

Jones climbed to five under with a solid second-round 70.

Afternoon starters Kim Felton, Richard Green, English world No 4 Justin Rose and New Zealander Gareth Paddison were all hoping to make a move on Fraser and Senden, as was pre-tournament favourite Adam Scott after his first-round 72.

After feeling embarrassed by his first-day 78, Watson thrilled fans with a bounce-back four-under 68 to revive his hopes of making the weekend cut.

Starting on the 10th, the eight-time major winner peeled off birdies on the 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th holes to claw his way back to two-over for the tournament.

Watson's inward nine wasn't so flash, but after dropping a shot on the third, his 12th hole of the day, the 63-year-old almost certainly confirmed a Saturday tee time with a birdie on his second-last hole of the round.

Watson was right on the projected cut line of two over before the afternoon players began their rounds.

Playing alongside Watson, defending champion Greg Chalmers notched his only birdie of the day on his third-last hole to join the American on the cut line after a three-over 75.

Chalmers was disappointed with his own round, but delighted to have seen Watson rediscover some old magic.

"It was just fantastic. The guy shot four under and, really, if he was 20 years younger, he could do whatever he wanted," Chalmers said.

"If you look at his ball flight, it doesn't move very far through the air. It's very straight. He's got great control of the club.

"For him to come out here after yesterday's round, I just think he felt a little healthier today and got away to a good start, built on that and he played beautiful.

"I'm sure the organisers are thrilled because it's another chance to come out and watch one of the game's greatest players."

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Chalmers admitted he had his work cut out winning a third Open after failing to capitalise on the benign scoring conditions early on Friday.

"Three par-5s on the back nine and I bogeyed two of them. That's not going to work if you want to have a good score out here," he said.

"I guess I'm going to get to play on the weekend so I get to go out and shoot a low score, but certainly I'm probably going to start a long way back."

- AAP

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