Fraser Now Sets Pace in Australian Open

Marcus Fraser carded his second straight 69 to take a one-shot lead through 36 holes of the Australian Open. The $1.2 million event began Thursday at a wind-whipped Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.

The 34-year-old Melbourne native posted five birdies and two bogeys on another day when swirling winds wreaked havoc on golf shots. Fraser is now at 6-under 138, a stroke ahead of first-round leader and fellow Aussies John Senden - who carded a 1-over 73 - and Brendan Jones (71).

Nick Cullen has two consecutive 70s to reach 4-under 140, while another stroke back in a tie for fifth are England's Justin Rose (73) and Aussies Mathew Goggin (70), Gareth Paddison (73), Richard Green (73), Cameron Percy (69) and Steven Jones (68).

Fraser seems to be playing on adrenaline as he's competed for seven straight weeks in seven different countries. Included in those travels is a visit to the U.S. for the PGA Tour's Q-School, where he was unsuccessful. And Fraser isn't done; he'll be flying next week to Malaysia in an attempt to win the Asian Tour money title; he's currently second.

"I've been playing so much I feel like I'm going with the flow a little bit," Fraser told reporters. "Playing week-in, week-out you're going through the same routine every day and it feels like another golf tournament. At the same time it is the Aussie Open. Definitely it's the pick of the bunch of the eight weeks for me.

"Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going over the weekend. I will feel some nerves tomorrow teeing it up but hopefully I'll get stuck into it on the weekend."

Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 4 in the world, had a tough time on the back nine as the winds strengthened. "My game was feeling pretty tight then all of a sudden it wasn't," the 32-year-old Englishman said. "There's a long way to go and if you'd said after two rounds I'd be three shots off the lead I'd probably have taken it."

No. 7-ranked Adam Scott followed up his opening 72 with a 71 and is five shots off Fraser's pace.

Tom Watson somehow overcame an opening 78 that he called "embarrassing." The 63-year-old, eight-time major winner from Kansas City rebounded with a 4-under 68 Friday to be eligible for the weekend.

"I hate missing cuts, I really do," said the World Golf Hall of Fame member. "That means you've failed. I don't think I've ever missed a cut overseas, except at the British Open."

Not so fortunate are two-time Australian Open champion Robert Allenby (77), 2007 winner Craig Parry (73) and 14-year-old Guan Tianlang. The Chinese amateur made significant strides in the second round, however, going from a birdie-less 82 on Thursday to a 2-under 70.

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