Published: Dec 16, 2011 7:38 AM EST
Updated: Dec 17, 2011 7:30 AM EST

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - England's Ian Poulter overcame a bout of food poisoning to birdie the final two holes for a 3-under 68 and a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Australian Masters on Friday.

Poulter, who woke up feeling ill Friday morning after taking a one-shot lead in the first round, had a 9-under 133 overall at Victoria Golf Club.

Matthew Giles was in second place after a 68, while fellow Australian Ashley Hall was third after a 70.

Top-ranked Luke Donald of England was at 3 under after a 70, while defending champion Stuart Appleby was forced to withdraw due to a painful back injury.

Greg Chalmers, also 3 under after a 70, is trying to become the second player to complete the Australian Triple Crown after winning the Australian Open and Australian PGA last month. Robert Allenby accomplished the feat in 2005.

Poulter overtook the leaders with consecutive birdies on the two closing par-five holes.

He said the weather over the final two days would be the key for players at the head of the field.

"Wind is the protection for this golf course. If it blows a strong 30 (miles per hour) and they put the pins in tricky positions, the scoring's not really going to go anywhere."

Poulter said he was ill before he drove to the course for the start of the second round.

"I woke up this morning and wasn't good at all," he said. "Must have had something bad to eat unfortunately so I felt a bit weak out there today.

"And it showed. I hit it terrible, got myself out of position a number of times, but my short game was on and I holed a few nice putts so to look back at the round I would have taken that score."