Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith swear Australia's hopes of World Cup glory aren't over having braved the worst conditions the pair have faced in a domestic tournament.
Strong winds and heavy rain wreaked havoc on the 28 two-man teams at Metropolitan Golf Club on Friday, but Leishman and Smith survived a horror start to the foursomes round and miraculously sit just four shots off the pace.
Belgium's Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry fired a one-under-par 71 and at 10 under they are tied for the halfway lead at the US$7 million World Cup with Koreans Byeong Hun An and Si Woo Kim (72).
Italy (71) were among the only four teams to shoot under par on day two and they share third at eight under alongside India (72), Malaysia (73) and England (74).
PGA Tour star Smith said winds up to 40km/h and torrential rain combined for the worst weather he had experienced in a home event.
"The toughest conditions I've played in Australia, ever," he said.
Starting Friday in a share of the lead, Australia dropped three shots on the front nine before collapsing spectacularly with a double-bogey six at the par-4 10th.
Trying to save par from a greenside bunker, Leishman's shot fell back into the trap and when Smith hit to six feet, Leishman missed the bogey putt.
"I left one in a bunker which was not acceptable, you can't make those mistakes," Leishman said.
"The conditions were tough but I'm not making excuses – it was the same for everyone."
Australia fell seven shots off the pace with another bogey at the par-3 12th, but they rallied with three straight birdies from 14th to keep a sixth World Cup title within reach.
But Australia were not the only team to struggle.
Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter and fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton battled to a 74 but remain well in the mix, two shots off the lead.
A frustrated Hatton, known for his explosive on-course temper, smashed a tee box marker at the 10th with his driver.
"The (tee markers) are very fragile, obviously that wasn't a great moment," Hatton said of the outburst.
"It was a reaction without thinking."
American drawcards Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley signed for a miserable 79 to plummet to one over, while Greece shot a 15-over 87.
Leishman said Saturday's four-ball (best ball) offers an opportunity for Australia to reduce their deficit with teams recording the best individual score on each hole.
"It's not over. We have two days to go and hopefully we can have a low one on Saturday," he said.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press