Scrivener, Kaufman take charge at pioneering Australia event

Australian Jason Scrivener carded six birdies in his six-under-par 66 on day two (AFP pic)

GEELONG: Australia’s Jason Scrivener and Nick Flanagan shared a two-shot lead while American Kim Kaufman took charge of the women’s tournament at the pioneering Vic Open on Friday.

The event, co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the US-based LPGA Tour, is the only one in the world with male and female fields playing, in alternate groups, on the same course and for equal prize money.

Scrivener carded six birdies in his six-under-par 66 on day two while fellow Australian Flanagan, a former US amateur champion, shot a 68 to go with his opening round 62.

“It’s been two solid days’ work,” said Scrivener, who continued his strong early season form which has been rewarded with three top-10 finishes on the European Tour.

“It’s just patience really, I think knowing there’s a lot of birdies out there helps. If you try to rush them, you can make mistakes, so just plodding your way around and being smart about it.”

James Nitties, who sank a world record-equalling nine birdies in a row on Thursday at the 13th Beach Golf Links south of Melbourne, could only manage one in his round of 74, which was marred by a double bogey on the 18th.

Kaufman, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, positioned herself for the weekend with her second 66 in a row — including a birdie-birdie finish — to be two ahead of Japan’s Haru Nomura.

“I just kind of did the same thing as yesterday. With all the par 5s out there, everything’s just pretty solid. Just been fun,” said Kaufman, who added that she had been keen to play the male-female event.

“Last year was when I kind of heard about it and I’ve been pretty outspoken about coming down here,” she said. “It’s lived up to every expectation, which has been great.”

England’s Felicity Johnson, the first round leader, could only muster a second round 74 to be seven off the pace.

One of the day’s biggest movers was veteran Karrie Webb, who stroked a 65 to be six behind Kaufman.