Fraser takes Aussie Open 2nd round lead while Watson is back in the race

Marcus Fraser on his way to a 69 at The Lakes on Friday

AUSTRALIA’S globetrotting golfer Marcus Fraser took a slender second round lead at the 2012 Emirates Australian Open while Tom Watson made good his intention “to get on his horse” after an “embarrassing” first round.

Buoyed by a hole in one in the first round, Fraser continued the good form to post a 3-under 69 to go to 6-under and take a one shot lead over John Senden (73) and  Brendan Jones (71).

The European and Asian Tour star performer and recent US PGA Tour trialist started the tournament poorly and was 3-over after 10 holes but has certainly turned things around.

“QF 323 was the first thought,” quipped Fraser, who only arrived back in Australia on Monday.

“I did not really do much wrong for the first 10 holes but all of a sudden I was three over par. I said to myself that there were a lot of birdie chances on the final stretch and I definitely made the most of it.”

His hole in one wasn’t his only inspiration.

“The four birdies before it were pretty nice as well. To have one go in like that turned the tournament right around. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going over the weekend.”

Fraser has been playing in Europe for 10 years and wasn’t that disappointed things didn’t work out at the final stage of US PGA Tour school qualifying last week.

“I’m second in Asia now. I am already in the British Open for next year after finishing top 30 in Europe this year. Hopefully I can sneak a few more WGC events and the US Open. If I play well this week and next week, the Masters is a chance. That top 50 world ranking by the end of this year is pretty important.”

US golfing icon Tom Watson rebounded from his 6-over 78 in the first round to shoot the best round of the morning with a 4-under 68.

“Obviously I am a lot more satisfied with my round today than I was yesterday,” said Watson, who admitted to making a slight rotation change to his backswing.

Watson finished at 2-over, later confirmed as two stokes under the plus 4 cut line.

The 63 year old, who has impressed everyone at the open with his affable manner and professionalism, saw a possible early start on Saturday as an advantage.

“The one thing you can do if the weather and the winds stay as they are, you are going to have a chance to shoot a good score. Tee off last and you are going to struggle with this golf course.”

“These greens, as I said yesterday, they are complicated. They are hard to play. It’s hard to hit the ball close to the hole.”

Watson’s playing partner and defending champion Greg Chalmers was disappointed with his own 3-over 75 (he still made the cut at 2-over) but was full of praise for Watson.

“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.”

After 36 holes the field was reduced to 69 players with the plus 4 cut line not confirmed to well after 7pm Friday.

The biggest names to miss the cut were Robert Allenby (6-over), Steven Bowditch (9-over) and New Zealand’s Mark Brown (10-over).

2012 Australian Open Tee Times

2012 Emirates Autralian Open Leaderboard

2012 Emirates Autralian Open Leaderboard

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