SYDNEY, Australia — Paul Casey shot a 6-under 65 Friday to take the early clubhouse lead on a morning of low scoring at the Australian Open.
Casey had a two-round total of 9-under 133 at The Australian Golf Club. Cameron Tringale, who also shot 65, and Louis Oosthuizen with a 66 were among those a shot behind.
Taiwanese amateur Chun-An Yu, the co-leader after the first round, shot 70 and was two strokes behind Casey.
Casey, at No. 14 and the top-ranked player in the field, had seven birdies including four in a row to end his round.
"I’ve not been able to get it close to any flag for about a day and a half and then suddenly the back nine for me, the last half a dozen holes, I had some really good birdie opportunities," Casey said. "I don’t know if it was fully in the zone but it was really nice stuff and it felt really good."
After being in danger of missing the cut following his opening 75, Adam Scott was at even-par after a 67 and looked likely to be playing over the weekend.
"It was much, much better than yesterday," Scott said. "Hopefully I didn’t shoot myself in the foot with a bad round yesterday and I’d like to play two more rounds and keep working on this."
Scott and Oosthuizen are both on the International team for next week’s Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Their captain, Ernie Els, may have some extra time to plot his strategy against the American team — Els shot 77 on Friday and was all but certain to miss the cut.
"I just didn’t quite swing enough or good enough and so be it. But, it was always going to be tough for me to play well with next week coming up,"’ Els said. "Actually even last night, I got some pairings going for the guys and so things are really getting set up now. I’m really focused on next week now, absolutely."
Friday’s low scoring came after the bushfire-driven haze that blanketed the course on Thursday afternoon cleared significantly for the second-round early starters.
The afternoon starters may still face another day of playing through pollution, however, after the state government issued a poor air quality alert for Sydney.