SYDNEY (Reuters) - U.S. Masters champion Adam Scott stormed to the top of the leaderboard at the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast on Friday, firing a four-under-par 67 to take a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the tournament.
Scott, on a four-week valedictory tour of his home country after becoming the first Australian to put on the famous green jacket at Augusta in April, got off to a blistering start with a birdie and an eagle in his first three holes.
Adding just one further birdie on his back nine, the world number two's flawless round at Royal Pines moved him to 10-under for the tournament, a couple of shots in front of compatriot David McKenzie (69).
"It was a mixed bag today. I got off to a great start but I just couldn't keep it going," Scott told reporters.
"I tempered myself and thought I shouldn't push it too much and put myself behind the eight ball.
"Hopefully, I can put my skates on and stretch away from the pack at the weekend."
Scott, who like many of the crowd was wearing green in honor of his achievement at Augusta, is aiming to complete a career sweep of Australia's marquee tournaments, having already won his home Open and Masters titles.
"I'm in with a good chance of winning the Australian PGA, which is what I was focused on," the 33-year-old added.
"This is the kind of mentality I've got, of really putting the focus on something and going to get it."
Overnight leader Rickie Fowler, whose sparkling eight-under 63 lit up the first round, started in similar vein on Friday when he holed his approach shot at the first for an eagle two.
Four bogeys and just one more birdie, however, gave the American a one-over par 72 and he slipped to a share of third on seven-under with Australian Nathan Green (69) and New Zealander Gareth Paddison, who carded an error-free 67.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Patrick Johnston)