Els One Back at Australian Open


Scott Laycock carded a 5-under 66 to move into the lead after Friday's second round of the Australian Open at The Grand Golf Club. His 36-hole total of 7-under-par 135 left him one shot ahead of Geoff Ogilvy and first-round leaders Ernie Els and Rod Pampling.
Laycock, who was born in nearby Brisbane, opened with back-to-back birdies before vaulting to 6-under-par for the tournament when he holed his second shot for eagle at the short par-4 10th.
Although he dropped a shot at the 11th, Laycock would finish ahead of the field with birdies at the 15th and 18th holes.
The 30-year-old Laycock nearly hit 80 percent of the greens in regulation Friday but has really excelled on the greens, where he has needed only 52 putts through the first two rounds.
'When you're playing well, you need to make the putts to keep your momentum going and I managed to do that on a couple of occasions out there,' he said.
Ogilvy, who finished second to Robert Allenby at last week's Australian PGA Championship, posted six birdies against no bogeys for a 65 -- the co-low round of the tournament.
Els, atop the leaderboard at 5-under at the start of the day, was slow out of the gate with six straight pars then backed up with bogeys at the seventh and eighth.
The two-time U.S. Open champ recovered by birdieing the ninth and 10th, then broke into red numbers with a long eagle putt at the par-5 12th.
After a birdie at the next hole took him to 3-under for the day, Els closed erratically with three bogeys and a birdie over the last five holes to complete a round of 1-under 70.
'Coming in, I didn't feel very comfortable, I think I lost a bit of concentration,' said Els, who is looking to extend his streak of consecutive years with at least one victory to 10. 'I didn't play like I should have played coming in. Hopefully I can do better this weekend.'
Pampling also began at 5-under and pulled three shots clear of his closest competition with four birdies on the outward nine. He dropped three strokes on the first two holes of the back side but birdied the 12th and 13th to regain a two-shot lead.
Pampling finished with a 70, however, as bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16 dropped him back into a share of second place.
Australians rounded out the top 12 positions, with Grant Dodd (65) alone in fifth place at 5-under and Greg Chalmers (67), Marcus Cain (69) and Brett Ogle (70) together in sixth at minus-four.
Stuart Appleby (70) entered the weekend in ninth place at 3-under 139, while Brett Rumford (67) and Peter Lonard (72) were knotted in 10th at 2-under-par.
Aussie amateur Chris Campbell was next at 141.
The two-day cut fell at 5-over-par 147 and included 60 players. Among those to qualify for the weekend were Adam Scott and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn at 1-under, Allenby and Craig Parry at 2-under, and American Charles Howell III at 4-over-par.
Full-Field Scores From the Holden Australian Open