Schwartzel seizes golf lead

Tempo - - Sports -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG (AP) – Charl Schwartzel holed out from the fair­way for an ea­gle on the 17th on his way to an 8-un­der 63 and a oneshot lead af­ter the sec­ond round of the South African Open on Fri­day.

The 2011 Mas­ters cham­pion moved to 12-un­der over­all and re­placed overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the leader­board at Rand­park Golf Club.

Schwartzel had six birdies but only took the lead with the ea­gle on his sec­ond-to-last hole when his ap­proach bounced on the green and landed on the far fringe be­fore the back­spin kicked in.

Madal­itso Muthiya (68) is sec­ond at 11 un­der.

Oosthuizen, ahead by a shot af­ter the first round, dropped into a tie for third at 10 un­der with Kurt Ki­tayama (69) and Zan­der Lom­bard (68). Ki­tayama has made a fab­u­lous start to his time on the Euro­pean Tour, win­ning last week­end at the Mau­ri­tius Open af­ter only just com­ing through qual­i­fy­ing school. He’s in con­tention for a sec­ond straight win.

Schwartzel made four birdies and his ea­gle on the back nine and was es­pe­cially good on the three par 5s – he birdied two of them and ea­gled the other.

“I’ve driven the ball well,” the 34-year-old South African said. “It’s prob­a­bly the most con­sis­tent I’ve driven the ball and I’ve felt it in prac­tice, I’ve been do­ing the same. It’s just nice to do it in a tour­na­ment now.”

Schwartzel last won a tour­na­ment in 2016 but said he feels he’s re­cently been play­ing bet­ter than he has in years, only the re­sults haven’t been there.

“It’s just this lit­tle thing called golf,” he said. “Try­ing to fig­ure it out still.”

The tour­na­ment is be­ing played on two lay­outs at Rand­park: the Firethorn Course and the Bush-wil­low Course. Play­ers had a round on each with the fi­nal 36 holes now at Firethorn.

CHARL Schwartzel

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