Friday, November 22, 2013


Pre-tournament favourite Charl Schwartzel shares the lead with Marco Crespi after the second round of the South African Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
South African Schwartzel, a former Masters Tournament champion, this afternoon fired five birdies and an eagle to go through the outward nine in 29 and tie at the top of the leaderboard with Italy’s Crespi, who this morning went round in a five under par 67.

Schwartzel then bogeyed the tenth and 13th, but birdied the next three holes to go ahead of Crespi. However, Schwartzel dropped a shot at the 17th and made par at the last for a 65 that left him level with the Italian on 12 under.

Speaking of the first half of his round, Schwartzel said: “It was just one of those nines where most things go right. I made some really good iron shots, put myself in play, and the greens are just in such fantastic condition that if you get the line right they go in, and that was pretty much the case.

“I holed some nice putts and played some great shots to turn in seven under. It looked like it could be a really low one at one stage.

“It’s nice to turn in a low nine and get yourself quickly up the board. I got a bit derailed by a short putt on ten. Actually a good putt but, late on the afternoon on the greens with all the guys stepping round the hole, I managed to hit a little footprint and it came back at me. It sort of put the brakes on a little bit. Who knows what I would have been on (now) if that went in?”

Crespi earlier continued to shine in the first event of his rookie European Tour campaign. The 35 year old, who finished third last week in Girona to come through Qualifying School for the first time in 11 attempts, carded six birdies and a solitary bogey at Glendower GC.

Crespi, the highlight of whose round was a superb approach from the rough at the 16th to a foot, said: “I missed a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today. My long game was not how I like to play. My putting and chipping was pretty amazing.

“I was expecting a good tournament, because I was playing well. Obviously not this big, but I am pretty confident about the weekend. I'll just try to remain calm and play my game my way.

“I just have to catch more fairways, because I really like to play from there. I don't have too much speed through the ball, so I need to stay on the fairway. If I get it right then I can control the distance, spin and direction more.”

Crespi and Schwartzel are one ahead of Dane Morten Ørum Madsen in the first event of the 2014 Race to Dubai.

Madsen, a runner-up in Madeira during an impressive rookie campaign last year, had seven birdies to join Crespi in front but failed to get up-and-down from short of the 17th green for his only bogey of the day as he signed for a 66.

Behind Madsen are two South Africans, Christiaan Basson on 10 under after a 68 and Jbe Kruger, looking to regain his full European Tour playing rights having been outside the top 110 on last season’s Race to Dubai, at nine under following his 70 today. England’s James Morrison, who carded a 66, is level with Kruger.

Former US Open Champion and two-time winner of this event Retief Goosen had been on course to take his place on the leaderboard but double bogeyed the fifth after hitting a poor drive and seeing his second shot finish against a tree. The double Major winner eventually signed for a 71 to be part of a large group on seven under.

Schwartzel finished six shots clear of younger brother Attie, who went round in 71 today.
Alastair Forsyth shot one of the day's best rounds, a six-under 66, which lifted him into the top 20, joint 19th to be precise, on 138 after an opening day 72. He is six shots off the pace.
Chris Doak and Peter Whiteford (both 71-68) are joint 24th on 139.
Clydeside-born South African Doug McGuigan is on 141 (71-70) and joint 40th place.
Jamie McLeary made the cut right on the limit mark of 142, thanks to a second-round four-under-par 68 which gave him a share of 53rd place.
Two of the more successful Scots in the 2013 season, missed the cut in this the first event of the 2013-2014 campaign.
Lee ahot 74-72 for 146 and Jamieson 73-75 for 148.



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