AAP Golf

Schwartzel leads S.Africa Open 2nd round

By AAP Newswire

Charl Schwartzel has sunk a 75 yard eagle on his penultimate hole to card a second round eight under par 63 for the lead at the halfway point of the European Tour's South African Open at the Randpark Golf Club.

Schwartzel's 12 under par tournament total is one ahead of Zambian Madalitso Muthiya, who followed up his opening round 63 with a 68 on the tougher Firethorn Course on Friday.

With a massive 240 player field, the first two rounds are split between Firethorn and the shorter Bushwillow course which Schwartzel tackled in his second round.

Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen managed nine birdies in his 62 on Thursday, but found the going much tougher on Firethorn with a 70 leaving him on 10 under par, tied for third with last weekend's Mauritius Open winner, American Kurt Kitayama (69), and home player Zander Lombard (68).

Schwartzel made a steady start with gains on the first and fifth holes, but sprang to life with four birdies and an eagle on his back nine.

The eagle came after a wayward drive on the par five 17th as he chipped in from 75 yards, and could yet be a pivotal moment as he seeks a first win in his home Open championship after twice finishing runner-up.

"It was one of my worst tee shots of the week so far," Schwartzel admitted.

"I figured if I could walk off with four or five that would be good. I managed to hit a good little third shot there."

Australia's best performer is David Gleeson, who shot a six under par 65 in his second round to put himself 10 shots off the lead in equal 57th place.

Dimitrios Papadatos shot a two over 73, while Nick Cullen shot a three under 69, with both sitting on a total of 143 in 101st place, with

Deyen Lawson finished three over par to be in 166th, while Jake Higginbottom carded a one under 70, recovering a shot after his disastrous opening round left him eight over par, to sit back in equal 197th.

The highest finishing three non-exempt players this week will gain exemption for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush next July, with 2010 Open winner Oosthuizen already on the entry list.