Nitties leads, Scott bounces back with 65 in Sydney

Former champion Adam Scott has made a spirited charge on the second day of the Australian Open at Royal Sydney, moving within three of the leader and former PGA Tour player James Nitties, following a stunning 7-under-par round of 65.

Scott (65) started the second round at one over but shot seven birdies and an eagle as he moved up the leaderboard, his low round also matched by the Novocastrian Nitties whose only blemish was a bogey at the tricky par 3 17th.

Scott produced some stellar golf with precision driving to get the kick start he was after as he attempts to repeat his 2009 victory at this event, which came at the famed NSW Golf Club where he won by five strokes over Stuart Appleby.

“I think momentum is such a huge thing out on the golf course and being over par is never a nice feeling, whether you’re playing good, bad or indifferent,” Scott said.

“I made a few putts which was nice. I’m not even going to say I’ve got a sour taste in my mouth after 65. I’m very happy with 65, but I can always do better.”

Adam Scott Adam Scott surveys the Royal Sydney layout with part-time caddy Steve Williams (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Scott will have his work cut out with a mix of experience and youth bunched sitting within four strokes of the leader.

New Zealander Ryan Fox is a stroke behind Nitties at 8-under to be in outright second position, with Aussie Rhein Gibson a further stroke behind at 7-under.

Rod Pampling fired a 67 to sit in a tie for 4th alongside Scott, Todd Sinnott, Lucas Herbert and first round leader and reigning US Amateur champion, Curtis Luck.

Nine years ago, Nitties burst onto the scene at the Australian Open at the Australian Golf Club to be the second round leader after a similar round to that which he fired today.

The Novocastrian’s journey since has been peppered with joys and disappointments with injury also playing a huge part in the frustration felt by the talented 34-year-old who turned professional in 2004.

“It’s been a pretty rough last three years golfing wise, I’m still enjoying it,” said the world number 732 who held a PGA Tour card in 2009.

“You know I’ve been on the PGA Tour and competed on the Web.com Tour and my game hasn’t really changed much since then, but you’re staying in hotels with cockroaches running around them.”

Should Nitties be in the same position come Sunday evening he can forget the cockroaches for a while and he’ll head to the Australian PGA with views of a European Tour card as a alternative option for the Dallas-based Aussie.

“I’ll take the Aussie Open win. If you’re asking me which one I’d like to win, it would be the PGA obviously,” added Nitties.

“I feel like that if I get on the European Tour, I could keep my card really easily. The golf is a lot tougher and not as deep as the Web and better golf courses.”

“But I like the position I’m in right now. It’s been a while since I’ve been up the top of the leaderboard in an Australian Open or a PGA, so, it’s going to be pretty nerve wracking out there, but it’s a good feeling. It’s fun to be in the mix at a large event.”