Els, Scott, Garcia miss Open cut as Jones thrives again on home course

Adam Scott will be able to shadow Ernie Els for an early Presidents Cup reconnaissance mission after the International team leader missed the cut for the first time at the Australian Open as a professional.

The world No.15 and tournament drawcard fired a vastly improved four-under 67 during the second round at The Australian Golf Club on Friday, but joined fellow US Masters champion Sergio Garcia on the Stonehaven Cup scrapheap.

Ernie Els plays out of the bunker on the 14th during the Australian Open second round on Friday.Credit:Getty

Former winner Matt Jones (-10), who won the event at his home course four years ago, heads a leaderboard laden with overseas stars before he wages a weekend battle with former college mate Paul Casey (-9).

Last year's runner-up Dimi Papadatos is in a share of second with the Englishman.

But the weekend galleries were robbed of some serious star power as Scott (even par) missed the cut by one shot, ruing a horror four-over 75 under smoky skies on Thursday.

Spaniard Garcia (+2) never found his groove playing alongside Scott and Casey, booking an early ticket home after struggling to a three-over 74 on Friday.

Speaking before his fate was sealed late in the second round, Scott said he would take some positives to Royal Melbourne where he has put his hand up to “stick it” to Tiger Woods, who will be a playing captain for the United States team.

"I adjusted my posture [Friday] morning on the range and changed the path of my swing a little bit," Scott said. "It was a good move because I was really struggling out there on [Thursday]. It wasn't feeling amazing – it was hard work out there – but it definitely felt better."

Els said he would jet to Melbourne on Saturday to begin the Presidents Cup planning as the International side tries to salvage the embattled concept.

They have only won the format once in its history and will start as massive outsiders against the Americans, even despite the withdrawal of world No.1 Brooks Koepka.

Adam Scott will turn his focus to the Presidents Cup after missing the cut at the Australian Open.Credit:Getty

Els (+7) has planned some of the International pairings on his mobile phone and was enthused by the Australian Open showings of team members Louis Oosthuizen (-8), Marc Leishman (-6) and defending champion Abraham Ancer (-4).

Ancer signed for a birdie-eagle finish in his second round to raise hopes of challenging again for the Stonehaven Cup.

Scott and Cheng-Tsung Pan (+1) will be able to travel to Melbourne early.

"I’ve picked guys who have played well for a long time," Els said. "One week or one round is not going to change anything in my view. The guys are quality players, they've made great strides in making the team and I believe in them. If they have a bad round or a bad tournament, it's not changing my view on that."

Jones led into the weekend before clinging to a one-shot victory from Scott and Jordan Spieth in 2015 and finds himself in a familiar position this year, where his main challenge looms from world No.14 Casey.

The guys are quality players, they've made great strides in making the team and I believe in them

"We had a lot of fun [in college]," Jones said. "It would have been better if I was more in front, but I'll take one. I've got a lot of experience around here and I'm going to have to use that the next two days."

Cameron Smith's tournament almost unravelled on the par-three 11th hole when he skewed his tee shot left into the bushes and was forced to reload, only to find the same scrub.

He eventually pitched out and scrambled a triple bogey before recovering to post a one-over 72 for the day.

"I've actually had trouble with that hole in the past with that left pin," Smith said. "Those bushes have got a bit of a magnet for my ball.

"It was a bit of a dud hole, but I managed to get through it. I think I hit the bag and then took a drink of water and kind of got over it."

AUSTRALIAN OPEN (after second round)
-10: Matt Jones
-9: Paul Casey (England), Dimi Papadatos
-8: Cameron Tringale (United States), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Denzel Ieremia (New Zealand), Shae Wools-Cobb, Takumi Kanaya (Japan, a)
-7: Chun-An Yu (Taiwan, a), Lukas Michel (a), Scott Arnold

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