SA's Branden Grace in action. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

MALELANE – A host of big names were circling at the top of the leaderboard midway through the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane on Friday.

Just as overnight leader Wil Besseling of the Netherlands prepared to tee off, having carded a seven-under 65 on day one at Leopard Creek Country Club, he was joined at the top by Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal.

The four-time European Tour winner tapped in for birdie at the long second to join Dutchman Besseling on seven-under.

Another regular winner, home favourite Branden Grace, had moved up to third with a birdie from five feet at the second.

Four of Grace’s eight European Tour titles have come on South African soil, including a win in this event five years ago.

Another home favourite, Thomas Aiken, held a share of the clubhouse lead on four under after a second round 72.

However, it was not just established stars shining at the first event of the 2020 Race to Dubai campaign, as Qualifying School graduate Marcus Armitage posted back-to-back 70s to join Aiken on four under.

Out on the course, Armitage’s fellow Englishmen Garrick Porteous and Jack Singh Brar were on the same mark, as well as former Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel on his return from a lengthy injury layoff. 

African News Agency (ANA)