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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 08:59 GMT
Rose recovery dents Pike's lead
Justin Rose
Rose finished on nine-under after two rounds

SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-12 A Pike (Aus)
-9 J Rose (Eng),
-8 K Barnes (Aus)
-7 S Bowditch (Aus)
Selected others:
-7 S Khan (Eng)
-3 P Casey (Eng)
-2 S Appleby (Aus)

Justin Rose recovered from his poor finish to his first round to take second place at the halfway mark in the Australian Masters at Huntingdale.

Rose is two shots behind leader Australian Aaron Pike who followed up his first-round 64 with a 69.

Rose carded a fine 66 which included eight birdies, while amateur Pike bogeyed 17 and 18 to end on 12-under.

Rose said: "The key to today's round was not getting upset by my finish on Wednesday night."

He added: "I walked off the golf course and said, 'OK you finished bogey-bogey-bogey,' but I think it was the second-best score of the afternoon so it was still a really good start - so I looked at it positively.

"To back that up today with a 66 is exciting."

Fellow Englishman Nick Dougherty failed to build on his stunning first-round 65 and posted 77 to leave him further down the leaderboard on two-under.

Pike, 21, is confident of retaining the lead heading into the final two rounds.

He said: "Just because I'm leading or just because there might be top-20 golfers breathing down my neck, I'm not going to go out there and hit a thousand balls tomorrow morning to try to get better.

"I've shown for the first two days that I can play and if I do it again, if I shoot 11 under again which is do-able, it's going to be hard for one of those guys to run over the top of me."

Kurt Barnes holds third spot on his own at eight-under with England's Simon Khan among five tied on seven under.

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