A late lapse left former winner Jordan Spieth four shots off the halfway lead in the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney, where Scottish amateur Connor Syme was set to miss the halfway cut.
Helped by a burst of four birdies in a row from the sixth, world No 5 Spieth had moved to seven-under for the tournament to sit at the top of the leaderboard before running up a double-bogey 6 at the 15th.
It left the American, who is trying to reclaim the title he won two years ago, having to settle for a second-round 70 and a five-under-par 139 total at Royal Sydney.
At the time he finished, Spieth was two shots off the clubhouse lead, held by home player Rhein Gibson after he signed for seven birdies in a six-under 66.
However, New Zealander Ryan Fox, son of All Blacks legend Grant, then claimed top spot on eight-under-par after a second consecutive 68 before the lead became nine-under as Australian James Nitties came in with a 65.
Among a group of players two off the pace are Adam Scott, who roared into contention with a 65, recent PGA Tour winner Rod Pampling (67) and amateur Curtis Luck (71).
Syme, who earned his place in the field through winning the Australian Amateur Championship earlier in the year, looked as though he was going to miss the cut by two and possibly even three shots.
It followed the 21-year-old Drumoig man carding a second successive 73 for a two-over-par total in the company of two double winners of the event, Robert Allenby and Peter Lonard.
Standing level-par for the day, Syme, who finished in the top 20 in the New South Wales Open in his final warm-up for the event, was still in with a chance of making it to the weekend with five holes to play before a dropped shot at the 17th put paid to that.
Former winner Peter Senior called time on his career after withdrawing following just five holes in the second round. The 57-year-old had already announced his pending retirement, but that has now been brought forward due to a hip injury.
Catriona Matthew is sitting inside the top 20 after breaking par in the opening round of the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Tour Championship in Florida.
The Scottish No 1 carded three birdies in a one-under-par 71 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples to lie joint-19th, five shots behind leader Shanshan Feng from China.
Matthew, who started her round on the back nine, opened with a birdie then picked up her second shot of the day at the 17th.
She then stumbled to back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth but got into red figures again with a birdie at the sixth.
Forty-fourth in the LPGA Tour standings before the event, the effort had lifted Matthew to 40th in the projected list.
Fang opened with flawless six-birdie salvo to lead by one from England’s Charley Hull and Korean So Yeon Ryu.
Former Open champion Stewart Cink admitted some good news for his wife had contributed to him carding a career-best score on the PGA Tour.
The 43-year-old opened with an eight-under-par 62 to sit one shot off the lead, held by Mackenzie Hughes, in the RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.
It was Cink’s best score in 1,754 rounds on the US circuit and came after his wife Lisa received a “good report” earlier in the week as she battles with Stage 4 breast cancer.
“I’ve just been really encouraged by the way she’s been able to fight and handle it,” said Cink after signing for eight birdies. “She’s had a lot of ups and downs but she feels pretty well. She’s really an inspiration for me.”
An exhibition match between Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson scheduled for the Philippines later this month has been cancelled, according to a report.
Billed as ‘Dustin vs Rory: Battle for a Cause’, it is reportedly off due to a contractual dispute.
Jane Turner maintained her six-shot lead at the halfway stage in the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School pre-qualifier in Morocco after adding a 73 to a sensational opening 65 at Mohammedia Golf Club.
Amateur Gabrielle Macdonald (78-80) is joint-37th in the battle to make next month’s final, which is also being held in Morocco, while Rachael McQueen (85-81) sits 59th.