MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Adam Scott grabbed a share of the second-round lead at the Australian Masters, with birdies on his first three holes Friday and two of his final four giving him a 5-under 66 at Royal Melbourne.
Scott, who won the Masters this year and last week’s Australian PGA, had a two-round total of 9-under 133, tied with fellow Australian Nathan Holman, who shot a 65 on Friday.
They had a one-stroke lead over Australians Matthew Griffin (65) and first-round leader Nick Cullen (69). American Matt Kuchar (66) was four strokes behind and in fifth place, while Vijay Singh was seven strokes back after a 68.
“It was a great start but unfortunately I couldn’t keep it going,” Scott said. “I’m in good shape for the weekend, but this course can jump up and get you.”
Leukemia survivor Jarrod Lyle shot an even-par 71 to make the 36-hole cut in his first tournament in 20 months. He was 1-over, 10 strokes behind Scott and Holman.
The 32-year-old Lyle said his legs felt heavy but he would draw on his “fighting instinct” to finish the weekend.
“If I have to crawl those last 18 holes, I’m crawling them,” Lyle said. “Nothing’s going to stop me from finishing.”
Lyle, then a regular on the PGA Tour, was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2012 just before the birth of his daughter, Lusi. Lyle’s wife, Briony, became pregnant despite medical advice that Lyle’s first bout of cancer and the resulting chemotherapy would leave him sterile.
He has a medical exemption to return to the PGA Tour whenever he feels he’s ready. But Lyle said Friday he won’t be rushing back to the U.S. until he knows he’s physically capable.
“I don’t want to waste the medical starts that I have,” he said.
Otherwise, he was enthused about his return.
“I’ve done it; I’ve come here and achieved the biggest goal I’ve set myself for the week and that was to play four rounds of golf,” Lyle said. “I couldn’t be happier than what I am.”
Scott said he and the other Australian golfers were all hoping Lyle would make it to the weekend.
“It’s phenomenal. He’s a beauty,” Scott said. “I’m so happy for him. To see him finish 1-over, it’s great. We love having him back.”