Cock­roach kid leads Scott, Spi­eth in Sydney

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SYDNEY: World num­ber seven Adam Scott surged into con­tention while two-time ma­jor cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth re­mained within strik­ing dis­tance of leader James Nit­ties in the Aus­tralian Open sec­ond round yes­ter­day.

Nit­ties-who com­petes on mini-tours in the United States, and com­plained he of­ten stays in cock­roach-in­fested ho­tels fired seven-un­der 65 to en­ter the week­end at nine-un­der 135. New Zealan­der Ryan Fox was one shot be­hind at eight-un­der, with Aus­tralia’s Rhein Gib­son alone in third at the par-72 Royal Sydney Golf Club. Lo­cal favourite Scott vaulted into a five-way tie for fourth at six-un­der, three shots off the pace, af­ter a morn­ing 65 that in­cluded a clos­ing nine of six-un­der 30. For­mer world num­ber one Spi­eth is one shot fur­ther back in a six-way tie for ninth af­ter fol­low­ing his open­ing 69 with a 70. Nit­ties started on the 10th hole and ig­nited his round with an ea­gle at the par-five sec­ond be­fore pro­duc­ing five birdies in his fi­nal six holes. “It’s been a pretty rough last three years,” Nit­ties said. “Play­ing mini-tours this year in Amer­ica and you’re 34 years old and you’ve been on the PGA Tour and your game hasn’t re­ally changed much from then, but you’re stay­ing in ho­tels which have cock­roaches run­ning around.”

‘BRAIN­LESS’ SPI­ETH

Fox-who has full sta­tus on the Euro­pean Tour for 2017 — will play along­side Nit­ties in to­day’s fi­nal group and is look­ing to be­come the first New Zealan­der to win the Aus­tralian Open. “Play­ing in The Open at St An­drews last year and the Olympics this year, granted I wasn’t in this po­si­tion, hope­fully I can draw from those ex­pe­ri­ences and be nice and re­laxed and go out and have some fun to­mor­row,” 29-year-old Fox said.

Scott picked up four shots in three holes late in his Fri­day round, which in­cluded an ea­gle at the par-five sev­enth.

“It’s al­ways the se­cret when you’re not quite on top of your game, you just need a good stretch of nine holes some­where in the tour­na­ment and that can carry you,” Scott said.

“Hope­fully that will be the nine that will (be) enough with two solid days on the week­end to carry me through.”

Along­side the 2013 US Masters win­ner at six-un­der are fel­low Aussies Rod Pam­pling, Todd Sin­nott, reign­ing US Am­a­teur and Asia-Pa­cific Am­a­teur cham­pion Cur­tis Luck, and 20-yearold Lu­cas Her­bert. Spi­eth carded five front-nine birdies but lost mo­men­tum with a three-putt dou­ble bo­gey at the par­four 15th. “It’s just the put­ter that needs im­prove­ment but, again, I’m still in it with feel­ing like I’ve been brain­less on the greens,” the Amer­i­can said. The top three play­ers in Sydney who are not oth­er­wise ex­empt will win di­rect en­try into next July’s Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale.

Adam Scott

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