Fraser takes two shot lead at Aust PGA

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 Australian PGA Championship | Round Two | 25 Nov 2011

Australian, Marcus Fraser, has continued his good recent European Tour form by leading through 36 holes of the Australian PGA Championship at the Hyatt Regency Coolum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The 33 year old now Melbourne based New South Welshman leads by two over Bubba Watson after an afternoon second round of 65 swept him past many of those who had taken advantage of the early conditions on day two.

“It felt like I played great over the past couple of days and finally got the putter working the way it should do," said Fraser. “It is nice to see the ball drop instead of lipping out and going past the hole all the time," he added referring to a better time on the greens.

One of the standouts amongst the Internationals at last week’s Presidents Cup, Kyung Tae Kim, picked up birdies on four of his last seven holes to move into outright third at 8 under and is three behind Fraser. He further highlighted his growing status in the game and it might be at week’s end he has done so even more.

Fraser has recovered from neck surgery early in the year after reaching a point where he was unable to even swing a club. “It was pretty serious,” the man originally from Corowa in New South Wales but now based in Beaumaris in Melbourne told a media gathering after his round. “I had a prolapsed disk in my neck. I had virtually lost the use of my right arm towards the end of last year, an injury that was aggravated when picking up my son at the Australian Open.”

“They got rid of my old disk and put a new disk in and put a carbon fibre cage in around that and a metal plate and the next day I was pain free in hospital and five weeks later I was playing at Doral (WGC event).”

Fraser has played the European Tour almost exclusively since turning professional in 2002 after an amateur career that included individual honours at the Eisenhower trophy and success in the New Zealand Amateur Championship.

Fraser has yet to win in a PGA Tour of Australasia event although he did finish runner-up after a playoff to Rod Pampling at the Australian Masters in 2008 and has won two European Tour and two Challenge Tour events his professional career.

The last of those victories came in 2010 when he won the Ballantines Championship in Korea, an event jointly sanctioned between the European and Asian Tours. Although the highlight this season has been his 4th place finish at the lucrative BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, he has had another solid year in Europe and currently lies in 72nd position on the money list.

Next week Fraser will head to Hong Kong to play the Hong Kong Open in the hope that he might earn enough money to play his way into the lucrative and season ending Dubai Championship the following week.

“I think I have to finish third or fourth outright next week so it is going to be a test but it would be nice to play well under those circumstances but if I don’t play then it it is another week on the couch, which I am a bit partial to, and have the chance to spend some more time with the family”

Y.E. Yang, Robert Allenby, Adam Scott and John Senden are in a group at 7 under par sharing 4th position and well within striking distance.

Stuart Appleby and Jason Day are amongst the group at 6 under and five behind the lead, highlighting once again that the Hyatt Regency Coolum layout typically brings the cream to the top.

The event also saw an unusual situation amongst the group of Greg Chalmers, John Senden and Bubba Watson. At the par three 2nd hole Chalmers holed in one on Thursday and today it was Senden’s turn.

The quality of the weekend contenders and that entry to the event on Saturday is free should ensure a huge crowd turns out to see a battle between Australia’s current best players and one or two rising stars of world golf.

It might be also that the presence of Greg Norman, who comfortably made the cut at 3 under, will assist the cause in bringing perhaps the largest crowd ever seen at event since it first moved to Hyatt Regency Coolum in 2002.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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