Friday, December 12, 2008

Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa

Coltart top Scot as Macaulay, McLean and
Drysdale join him in weekend action

Oskar Henningsson, Len Mattiace and Robert Rock share the halfway lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship after reaching 11 under par 133 for the first 36 holes at Leopard Creek Golf Club in South Africa.
All three players built on their impressive opening rounds as they opened up a one-shot lead over home favourite Richard Sterne, with five players a shot further back at nine under 135.
Mattiace - who led with Sweden`s Michael Jonzon overnight - added a 68 to his opening 65 with a bogey free round as the American, who lost a play-off to Mike Weir at the 2003 US Masters, seeks a first win on The European Tour.
England`s Rock had opened with a 66 but was only level par at the turn. However, he birdied five of his last six holes to storm into a share of the lead.
Speaking afterward, the Staffordshire golfer praised the course at Malelane as one he really favoured.
“I just like the course here, I like the holes,” he said. “I like the way the ball sits on the fairways as well. It suits the way I play my iron shots and the greens are great.
“I didn’t really putt that well. The back nine was similar to yesterday really. The front nine is tougher and I didn’t particularly play that well. But the driving has been the key so far really and that’s left me in a good position on every hole.”
Swede Henningsson produced the best round of the day, an eight under par 64, with four birdies on the front nine and four more on the way back without a bogey.
South African 27 year old Sterne is a stroke clear of Zimbabwe`s Marc Cayeux, Swede Johan Edfors, England`s John E Morgan and compatriots Tyrone Mordt and Charl Schwartzel after compiling a six under par second round 66. Sterne is bidding to become the first home winner of the event since Ernie Els three years ago.
Sterne started on the tenth and soon raced to six under for the day with an eagle at the par-5 13th and four straight birdies from the 14th.
His round threatened to unravel when he posted a triple bogey 8 at the 18th, but he recovered with three birdies on the front nine.
“It was quite a special round, obviously,” he said. “I had a little hiccup somewhere but it was all pretty good, pretty decent. I was never really in trouble.
“I made a lot of good putts on the back nine, which was my front nine today, six in a row or something, and that got things going, and then I played well on the front nine again after 18. I went three under and no mistakes.”
Swede Edfors posted a three under par round of 69 to move to nine under at the halfway stage, and was joined by local favourites Mordt and Schwartzel.
Edfors had produced a bogey free 66 in the opening round but although he dropped shots at the seventh, 13th and 17th in his second round six birdies ensured he remained in contention for a first European Tour title since The Barclays Scottish Open in 2006.
Mordt started at the tenth tee and was level par for his round after nine holes.
But he fired six birdies - four of them on consecutive holes from the par three fifth - and a single bogey to post a front nine 30 on the way in.
Schwartzel - who won the event in 2005 - added a 67 to his opening 68, while Morgan carded five birdies and a single bogey on his way to a 68.
Cayeux is without a win on The European Tour since 2004 but is firmly in the frame thanks to a 67.
COLIN FARQUHARSON'S SCOTSWATCH. Scottish amateur champion Callum Macaulay from Tulliallan survived the cut in his tournament debut as a professional. A second-round 69 for three-under-par 141 got him through to the weekend action with a stroke to spare. Top Scot of the four qualifiers is Andrew Coltart, who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup team alongwith Paul Lawrie. Coltart regained his European Tour status at the recent Q School and has started off steadily in South Africa with a pair of 70s for 140.
Canada-based Alan McLean from Glasgow slipped back a bit with a 74 but his first-round 68 stood him in good stead and 142 got him through right on the limit mark.
David Drysdale also qualified on two-under-par with a pair of 71s.
The other four Scots in the starting field failed to make it. Euan Little and Scott Drummond missed out by a shot, Little with scores of 71 and 72 for 143, Drummond 70 and 73.
Tartan Tour No 1 Chris Doak shot 73 and 71 for level par 144, good enough scoring, except on the European Tour where you need to get under par on a regular basis to make money.
Another European Tour rookie, Richie Ramsay was never going to beat the cut after an opening round of 76 but give the Aberdonian credit for still trying his very best on the second day and a two-under-par 70 will restore a bit of his self-confidence.



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