JOHANNESBURG – With a total of 12-under-par, Charl Schwartzel leads the SA Open at Randpark by one stroke going into the weekend.
The former Masters champion followed up his four-under-par 67 on the Firethorn course on Thursday with a scintillating eight-under-par 63 on the Firethorn layout on Friday, to edge ahead of Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya.
Schwartzel went bogey-free on Friday, registering birdies at six holes and a chip-in-eagle-three at the par-five 17th hole.
“I’m playing well, driving the ball well, and excited about the weekend. This is a tournament I would love to win,” said Schwartzel afterwards.
Just one stroke behind Schwartzel is Muthiya, who after his stunning 63 on the Bushwillow course in round one, registered a three-under-par 68 in his second round at Firethorn to be at 11-under-par.
“It was windy, but it was a good day for me. I played consistently well again, so I’m very pleased,” said the man who has also played on the Web.com Tour in the USA.
“The putting was crucial today... and that is always going to give one confidence. The right attitude goes a long way.”
Three players are tied for third – three shots off the pace, namely the USA’s Kurt Kitayama, who followed up his opening round 63 with a 69 in round two, Zander Lombard, who’s gone 64-68, and Louis Oosthuizen, who wasn’t able to create the magic from the opening round.
Oosthuizen recorded a one-under-par 70 on the Firethorn course, which included three birdies on the back nine, but also two bogeys, after starting with a blistering nine-under-par 62 on the Bushwillow course on Thursday.
Several quality golfers are not too far back and will fancy their chances at the weekend.
Jbe’ Kruger is at nine-under-par, while Branden Grace and Matt Wallace are at eight-under.
2011 @TheMasters champion @CA_Schwartzel shoots a 63 in rd2 @SAOpen_Golf and totals -2 for the week and in contention for his maiden @SAOpen_Golf title.#SAOpen #SunshineTour #ItBeginsHere #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/Y0vU9rxji0— Sunshine Tour (@Sunshine_Tour) December 7, 2018
With all the players having played a round each on the Bushwillow and Firethorn courses, the action will now only take place on the Firethorn course.
Four amateurs made the cut and are in the hunt for the Freddie Tait Cup, among them the youngest player to ever feature in the SA Open, Yurav Premlall, at 15 years and five months.
Premlall is at two-under-par, and the nephew of Ernie Els, Jovan Rebula, is on five-under after his two rounds.
The youngest man ever, at 15 years and 5 months, to qualify to play in the @SAOpen_Golf. Yurav Premlall is 2-under after 2 rounds, after going around @RandparkGolf Bushwillow course in 67 strokes today. @IOLsport @Sunshine_Tour @EuropeanTour pic.twitter.com/ndAtqaGgxk— Jacques vdWesthuyzen (@jacq_west) December 7, 2018