Poulter On Top in Italy
Emanuele Canonica stands alone in third place three shots back at minus-13. Jarrod Moseley is one stroke further back at 12-under, while Angel Cabrera and Henrik Nystrom are tied for fifth at minus-11. Cabrera fired a second-round 61, as the field played preferred lies due to the wet conditions.
After heavy rain and thunderstorms washed out play on Friday and caused the tournament to be shortened to 54 holes, play was delayed at the outset on Saturday due to fog. Christopher Hanell and Klas Eriksson finally completed their first rounds early Saturday, before second-round play started.
Poulter, who owned the lead after the first round thanks to a course-record 11-under 61, began his second round on the back nine at Olgiata Golf Club. His round was steady from the beginning as he parred the first six holes. He then stepped to the tee at the par-3 16th and holed out his 4-iron for an ace.
'I hit a 4-iron, straight at the stick and as soon as I hit it I knew it was going to have a reasonable chance,' said Poulter, the 2000 Italian Open champion. 'It pitched seven feet short, checked up and dropped in. It's my third hole-in-one and I've won nothing for any of them.'
He didn't let up from there as he birdied the next and made the turn at 3-under for his round. Around the turn, the Englishman birdied the first to go to minus-4. However, he faltered at the second with a bogey.
Poulter settled down from there with pars on five of his final seven holes. He birdied the fifth and ninth on his way to the clubhouse to get to 16-under. His two round total of 128 was one shot away from the European Tour 36-hole record.
'I've been playing great for six weeks and now it is continuing,' Poulter said. 'It's nice. Steady stuff out there again today. It is always hard to follow a 61 and 5-under is acceptable.'
Lawrie, who opened with a 66, got off to a quick start on the back nine despite trailing Poulter by 10 shots when he teed off. Poulter had an early tee time and had finished at 16-under.
Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, opened with birdies on 11 and 12. He later sank birdie putts on 14, 16 and 18 to make the turn at minus-5 and could have done better if not for near misses on 15 and 17.
'I played really nicely again,' said Lawrie. 'I missed chances at a couple of the par-5s, the 15th and 17th but you cant grumble with a 63. Disappointing not to birdie those two holes as I was hitting a little 4-iron into the 15th and a 2-iron into 17th. Two shots dropped you feel but it's a good score.'
On the front nine, Lawrie birdied three consecutive holes starting at the fourth. He closed out his round with a birdie at the par-five ninth.
'It's not great when you stand on the first tee and you are ten behind especially after a good first day but my attitude was really good and I got a good score and gave myself a chance for tomorrow,' said Lawrie. 'I am swinging it well and rolling it well.'
Miles Tunnicliff is alone in seventh place at 10-under par. Gary Orr, Thomas Levet, Anders Hansen and Maarten Lafeber are one stroke further back at minus-9. Mark Mouland, Andrew Marshall, Anthony Wall, Barry Lane and amateur Francesco Molinari are all at 8-under.
Padraig Harrington, who is chasing Retief Goosen for the Order of Merit title, is tied for 34th at minus-5. Goosen is playing in the season-ending Tour Championship on the PGA Tour this weekend.
Defending champion Gregory Havret withdrew after shooting a 1-over 37 on the front side Saturday. He had struggled with an opening-round 75.
The 36-hole cut fell at three-under-par 141.
Full-field scores from the Italian Open
Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open
The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:
Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)
What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.
Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.
Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.
Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.
Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.
Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one
Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.
Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia
SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.
Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.
''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.
But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.
In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.
''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.
The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.
''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''
NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.
Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long
Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.
Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.
"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"
The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.
Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.
"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."
Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.
"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.
"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.
"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."