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Adam Scott surges back into hunt in Australia

Associated Press

Sydney — Adam Scott shot a 5-under 66 Friday to put himself back in contention at the Australian Open after starting the round in danger of missing the cut.

Starting on the 10th tee, Scott made quick amends for a 74 Thursday which left him in 82nd place. He eagled the par-5 14th and had two birdies to make the turn in 32, then birdied the par-4 sixth coming home at The Australian Golf Club.

He was tied for fifth in a large group at 2-under with the afternoon field — including defending champion Rory McIlroy — just beginning their rounds.

First-round leader Jordan Spieth of the United States, who led by one after Thursday and was playing with Scott, shot 72 Friday and was tied for the early clubhouse lead at 3-under 139 with former Australian amateur Geoff Drakeford, who is playing his first tournament as a professional.

“Yesterday I got off to a bad start, and I didn’t scramble well when I had to and it started to get away from me,” Scott said. “Today a couple of good shots coming up 14 and I made an eagle and momentum is on your side.”

Scott said the reason scoring has been difficult is the mostly contoured greens at The Australian.

“I think the greens were certainly testing us, getting to understand the slopes on the greens and especially around the edges,” Scott said. “I’ve hit a lot of wedge shots that have been a little mis-struck and then spinning off the greens. I guess that’s got to do with the pin positions as well. So getting it very close to the hole is not that easy. I think the greens have to be the defense because there is no rough.”

Spieth had to call for a rules official on the par-3 fourth hole when a marshal stood on his ball, but neglected to tell him when he got to the green.

Members of the gallery informed Spieth, and after he took a drop, the American fluffed his chip and missed his putt for par. On the way to the next hole, he flung his ball into a creek.

His round ended well with birdies on his last two holes, but that wasn’t enough to make it a good day for Spieth.

“It was a struggle, big-time struggle,” Spieth said. “I wasn’t hitting it well. If I wasn’t putting well I may have shot 45 on the back nine.

“I just didn’t find the ball-striking until the last few holes and then was very fortunate to grab a few birdies. I was really looking at making 4s and getting in and regrouping for tomorrow. But instead I kept myself in the tournament.”