Garcia falls as Leishman and Bland take charge at Royal Pines

Masters champion Sergio Garcia came unstuck at the Australian PGA Championship as locals Marc Leishman and Adam Bland earned a share of the lead at the halfway point.

Garcia carded a one-under-par 71 to sit six shots off the pace in Queensland on Friday, where the leading duo have a two-stroke advantage. 

The drawcard for the tournament at Royal Pines, Garcia made a fine start on Thursday following a blemish-free round but the Spaniard faded heading into the weekend.

A pair of early birdies were wiped out by a double-bogey seven at the ninth hole, while Garcia added another three birdies and two bogeys after the turn to reside on six under through 36.

While Garcia struggled, Leishman and Bland flourished with respective rounds of 65 and 66, ending day two ahead of fellow Australian Greg Chalmers (66) at 12 under.

"It wasn't my best day out there. I had a couple of really nice putts but struggled a little but both physically and mentally," Garcia said.

"My golf game wasn't as sharp as I would like it to be but I guess the good thing is we still fought hard. We stayed in it.

"As uncomfortable as I felt out there, to be able to still shoot one-under, it's a positive thing.

"I could have easily shot four or five under and really be very close to the leaders [but] it is what it is.

"If we don't have a great day tomorrow it's going to be tough because those guys [leaders] are playing well and they are not going to back up much.

"We all know how good of a player he [Leishman] is. He has been on tour for a long time, This year he has had a great year with a couple of wins and a lot of confidence and that obviously always helps."

Reigning champion Harold Varner III boosted his hopes of retaining his title with a fine 66, though he faces a five-shot deficit to the summit of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, former world number Adam Scott (74) missed the cut at an Australian tournament for the first time in seven years.

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