Suva (Fiji) (AFP) - Australian youngster Jake Higginbottom took a two-shot lead in the inaugural Fiji International at Natadola Bay on Friday after shooting a second round three-under-par 69.
His round in windy conditions put the 20-year-old on seven under for the tournament, two strokes ahead of compatriots Cameron Smith, Andrew Dodt and Steve Jeffress in the new US$1.0 million tournament.
Higginbottom, who is in his second year on the OneAsia tour after winning the New Zealand Open as an amateur in 2012, sank four birdies, with a bogey on the ninth the only blemish on his scorecard.
"I played pretty steady again today, I'll just have to see if I can go out and do the same again tomorrow," he said.
"It's always a challenge to lead from the front after day two. I know there are guys out there after me, but you have to do that to put yourself in a position to win."
Local hero Vijay Singh continued to struggle on a course he designed in 2009, complaining of back pain as he shot two over par to leave him in a six-way tie for 40th.
"I was a little sore and protecting my back at the beginning but then I sort of forgot about that after a while," he said.
"It was a tough day... I'm going to be a lot more aggressive tomorrow and just hit it."
Leading second-round scores (Australian unless stated)
137 - Jake Higginbottom 68-69
139 - Cameron Smith 71-68, Andrew Dodt 68-71, and Steve Jeffress 69-70
140 - Lucas Lee (BRA) 69-71