Leishman one stroke adrift

Saturday, 19 May 2012
Marc Leishman
Marc Leishman

Australian Marc Leishman is in a share of second position with five other competitors at the halfway mark of the Byron Nelson Championship.

Leishman shot a one-under 69 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Texas on Friday, which included a 12-foot par save at the last, to keep himself in the chasing pack at six-under overall and in touch with leader Jason Dufner (seven-under).

The Warrnambool native, who started the second round at the 10th tee, bogeyed the 12th but picked up shots on 1 and 5.

Leishman's compatriot and 2010 winner Jason Day lies in a share of 11th three strokes behind Dufner on four-under but Adam Scott (four-over) missed the cut.

Dufner shot four birdies on his last five holes to take a one-shot lead after two rounds.

After opening the day with two bogeys, the American finished strongly as he surged up the leaderboard with a four-under 66.

His round was made all the more memorable by a chip-in for birdie at the 18th.

That leaves him one stroke clear of a group of six men including US Ryder Cup star Matt Kuchar.

Coming off a win at The Players Championship last week, Kuchar fired a two-under 68 to sit alongside overnight leader Ryan Palmer (70) and fellow Americans Chad Campbell (66), Pat Perez (67) and Dicky Pride (68).

Defending champion Keegan Bradley (68), Charley Hoffman (69) and Japan's Ryuji Imada (68) are tied for eighth place at five-under.

World No.10 Phil Mickelson finished his round with a double-bogey, his 69 leaving him on one-under with South African veteran Ernie Els, who produced arguably the shot of the day with a chip-in from a greenside bunker.

Dufner, who broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans earlier this year, said he was pleased with how he recovered after a horror start.

"My game feels good and has been consistent, yesterday was probably the best ball striking round I've ever had, I putted more than I hit the golf ball, I had 34 putts, I hit the ball 33 times, and that doesn't happen very often," he said.

"Usually when you're feeling good you're going to go into the weekend leading or close to the lead, and I've been fortunate to be in that position, closed out one a couple of weeks ago, haven't played quite as well in others, but hopefully the experience that I had New Orleans will build for me and I will have confidence going into the weekend."

Other Australians to survive the cut were Nathan Green (one-under), Mathew Goggin (even), Gavin Coles (even), Greg Chalmers (one-over) and Nick O'Hern (one-over).

But Scott, Rod Pampling (four-over), Bryden Macpherson (four-over), Matt Jones (five-over), Steven Bowditch (seven-over) and Stuart Deane (17-over) weren't so lucky.