SCOTLAND slipped ten shots behind leaders United States after the second round of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Australia.
Just four off the pace at the start of the day at Royal Melbourne, Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird now have a fight on their hands in their bid to repeat the 2007 victory claimed by Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren.
Gallacher signed for a level-par 71 that saw him follow four birdies with a bogey straight afterwards on each occasion.
It lifted the Lothians man three places into a joint-35th in the individual event, the main focus in a revamped $8 million tournament this year.
Laird, who had opened with a four-under 67 to sit joint-second, dropped a shot at the last for a 72 to slip down to fifth.
Winners in China two years ago, the United States stepped up their bid to retain the title by opening up a three-shot lead over Denmark at halfway.
It followed Matt Kuchar carding a 68, one better than team-mate Kevin Streelman.
Dane Thomas Bjorn, who followed his opening 66 with a 68 to sit on eight-under, leads Streelman by one in the individual event.
Australia’s Jason Day and Ricardo Santos from Portugal are joint-third on four-under.
Streelman had surged four shots clear in the early stages of the second day, but paid a high price for a thinned bunker shot on the ninth hole, where he made a double bogey.
Despite opening and a closing with a bogey, Björn was again delighted with the control he exerted over what he termed “one of the top three courses in the world”.
The 42-year-old added: “There were a couple of things that happened on the golf course today that really tested me. I three-putted the first, so got caught a little bit there.
“But after that I patiently worked my way into the round and played very solid. Maybe not quite as good as yesterday on the front nine, but on the back nine I played awesome.
“Obviously it was disappointing to bogey the last, but if you’d askedme when the ball was in the air, I would’ve said you couldn’t have hit a better golf shot.
“But you have got to take that on this course. Some bounces go your way, and some go against you on this course. Maybe I was a bit unfortunate, but I have to remember that I played some really, really good stuff on that back nine.”
Masters champion Adam Scott shot a second-round 68 to move into a tie for 21st on one-over.