SYDNEY – Geoff Ogilvy shot a 7-under 65 at The Lakes course to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds at the Australian Open on Friday.
Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, had a 36-hole total of 11-under 133.
Australian Matt Jones shot 64 to sit one stroke back of Ogilvy, with first-round leader Matthew Griffin, also from Australia, another stroke back after a 70.
American Dudley Hart, making his first tournament start in 18 months following back surgery, shot 69 and was tied for fourth with Australians John Senden (71) and Paul Sheehan (67).
Greg Norman and Fred Couples, the Presidents Cup captains for next year at Royal Melbourne, had contrasting results. Norman, the International team captain, made the two-round cut of 1-over 145 after shooting a 69 and was at 143.
Couples, the U.S. team captain, shot 74 Friday and missed the cut by one stroke. He was joined by John Daly, who also was at 146 after a 77.
Ogilvy won the PGA Tour’s season-opening event in Hawaii before having a difficult year and falling to 43rd in the world rankings.
“You’re lying if you said you’re not thinking about winning, but it’s way in the back of your mind,” Ogilvy said. “The closer you get to the end the more you start thinking about it, but after 36 holes it’s not going to monopolize my thoughts.”
Playing partner Adam Scott also took advantage of some easy morning conditions – not much wind and slow, soft greens due to recent rain – to shoot 66. Scott, the defending champion, shot 75 Thursday.
While past Australian Opens have been plagued by delays due to unplayable, fast greens caused by wind and grown-out rough on the fairways, Scott said The Lakes was playing easy.
“They are certainly being cautious, which might be the smart thing to do (but) it is taking a little of the fire, a little of the challenge out of the golf course by having them (the greens) that slow,” he said.
“More balls are staying on the greens than rolling off. Some of the extreme long putts across the breaks are a little easier because the greens are slower.”
The course is hosting its first big tournament since a makeover by designer and former Australian pro Mike Clayton, and the greens have not yet fully grown in.
“This week, for whatever reasons – the rain and also fear of the wind – they might not have them fast enough for the course to bare its teeth,” Scott said.