Mental test awaits leader Scrivener

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Jason Scrivener can’t ignore his five-year title drought after carving out a 36-hole lead at the Australian PGA Championship.

And after watching hometown hero Cameron Smith take to the pitch on Friday afternoon at Royal Queensland in Brisbane, he knows the severe mental test ahead.

Scrivener thought things would turn out differently after a decisive win at the NSW Open in 2017, but admitted putting too much pressure on himself earlier this year to get back to winning ways.

“It just goes to show it’s hard to win (because) I really thought it would be the start of something,” he said after allowing a four-under 67 to move to 10 under.

Smith carded a six-under 65 to move to nine-under overall and put the pressure on Scrivener.

“You have to play golf flawlessly,” Scrivener said of the prospect of winning his second title.

“I have an opportunity this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s great to see all the crowds…people have been deprived of Australian golf.

“With Cam and Scotty (Adam Scott) coming home, it’s going to be a great weekend.

“That’s what we all want to work for – just to test him against the best players.

“It’s going to be tough and I’m going to be nervous, but I’m excited for it.”

Scrivener’s bogey-free lap was not without incident, cutting a 70-yard approach to within a hair of the sixth flag to save par after an errant tee shot.

The European Tour member, born in South Africa but raised in Perth, was three shots from the pitch at one point.

But Cameron John (65) and Masahiro Kawamura (66) closed the gap to finish two shots back.

Smith, a two-time winner and world No. 3, missed the celebratory 17th hole but birdied on the 18th to move into second place, with a handful of players yet to complete their rounds.

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