Purcell 16th as Scott eagles last to share Aussie Open lead

Ronan MacNamara
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Conor Purcell (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Conor Purcell is six shots off the pace at the halfway stage of the ISPS Hands Australian Open in Melbourne after a level-par 72.

Adam Scott shot a course record equalling 63 to surge through the field and sit alongside David Micheluzzi at the top of the leaderboard on eight-under.

Purcell of Portmarnock has taken advantage of his invite this week and is in a share of 16th place after three birdies and as many bogeys left him at two-under-par.

The 25-year-old made the turn as he started with a birdie on 4 and a bogey on 9. The Dubliner dropped shots on 10 and 16 but got them back on 13 and 17 to come home in 36.

But the drama was above Purcell where Scott eagled the last to jump alongside Micheluzzi as he looks to claim his second Australian Open crown.

The 2009 champion had started the day six shots behind fellow home favourite and overnight leader Micheluzzi but carded five birdies and that closing eagle at Victoria Golf Club to soar to the summit at eight under.

Micheluzzi had maintained his three-shot advantage for much of the day but bogeyed the 16th and last at Kingston Heath Golf Club to sign for a 71.

Australia’s Haydn Barron, Kiwi Josh Geary and American Gunner Wiebe were the nearest challengers three shots back.

Scott admitted he had been frustrated with his 71 on day one but was glad to harness all his experience as he looks for DP World Tour win number 12.

“It’s not the first time I’ve played terrible obviously but it is frustrating because I’m out playing in a tournament, the Australian Open, and I want to play well,” he said.

“Yes, it’s frustrating but using the experience, I’ve had plenty of bad rounds in my career and had to come out the next day.

“I also pride myself on kind of not throwing in the towel. I don’t rack up big numbers too often and I also don’t withdraw playing bad, so I’m here to win the tournament this week and it can turn around quick. I have that experience as well and it did today.

“Hopefully I can keep running in this direction tomorrow. It’s always nice when the tournament can take a lot of players out of it.

“If I can play well tomorrow and anyone else can come with and it’s only a few guys in it, that’d be a great position for Sunday. Then maybe I have some advantage from experience.”

Meanwhile, in the Australian All Abilities Championship that’s running alongside the main tour event, Brendan Lawlor sits just one shot back of World Number One Kipp Popert after signing for an even par start.

The Carton House star posted four birdies in his round of 72 with Englishman Popert the only man to get into the red on the opening day Down Under.

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One response to “Purcell 16th as Scott eagles last to share Aussie Open lead”

  1. Bill Lawlor avatar
    Bill Lawlor

    Nice to see Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor get a mention for his great First Round in the G4D
    All Abilities running alongside the Aussie Open! Good Luck to him over the next two rounds!

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