Spieth, Scott in contention as Nitties leads

Updated: 

Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott are in contention as James Nitties grabbed the 36-hole lead at the Australian Open on Friday.

Nitties carded a seven-under 65 at Royal Sydney Golf Club to move into a one-shot lead at the halfway mark.

At nine under, the Australian is a stroke clear of Ryan Fox (68) and two ahead of Rhein Gibson (66).

But two of the world's top 10 are lurking heading into the weekend.

Spieth, the 2014 champion, produced a two-under 70 to sit at five under in a tie for ninth.

Home favourite Scott, who won the event in 2009, surged into contention, firing a seven-under 65 to move into a share of fourth.

Spieth opened with a 69 and got hot on the front nine in his second round, holing four straight birdies from the sixth to ninth.

However, he would be left to rue a double bogey at the par-four 15th.

Scott had four birdies and an eagle in his first eight holes before slowing on the back nine, but he remains well-placed.

Joining Scott in a tie for fourth are Lucas Herbert (71), amateur Curtis Luck (71), Rod Pampling (67) and Todd Sinnott (68).

For Pampling, it continued his strong recent form, having won his first PGA Tour event in more than 10 years with his victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open earlier this month.

Meanwhile, two-time champion Peter Senior - whose victories came 23 years apart - announced his retirement from the sport after completing just five holes of his second round, the 57-year-old struggling with a hip problem.