GOLD COAST, Australia — Adam Scott was two strokes off the lead and tied for third place after a second-round 5-under 67 at the Australian PGA championship at Royal Pines on Friday.
The leader was China’s Yuan Yechun, whose 65 left him at 9-under 135 after 36 holes. He bogeyed two of his final four holes.
Scott, attempting to win his first tournament since a World Golf Championship victory in March 2016, is playing his third week in a row after the Australian Open and last week’s Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
Scott’s round included a 40-foot eagle putt and two lengthy birdies with one bogey.
“I played safe, rolled a lot of nice putts, a lot went by the edge but I made a couple as well,” Scott said. “I had to really dial it in to get it close. It was a patient round and eventually I kind of wore the course down.”
Scott said he knew another mediocre round like his 70 on Thursday wouldn’t put him among the leaders.
“After the bogey on four I just felt I need to get moving a bit here because 2-under’s not going to put me up there far enough,” Scott said. “It’ll be good for me to focus up for two more days. I need more of the same, but feeling like I’ve got definitely two more days in me.”
Cameron Smith, aiming to be the first player in more than 100 years to win three straight Australian PGA titles, followed up his opening 74 with a 65 to leave the Australian at 5-under and four strokes behind.
Smith said the President Cup, where his International team lost 16-14 to the United States, had drained him both physically and mentally. But he said an afternoon nap Thursday and swim at the beach had helped him bounce back.
“I knew what I had to do today to get back into it,”Smith said. “I saw Scotty and those guys posted a score early. I didn’t play aggressive or anything, just did my stuff and walked away with seven birdies.”