JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Tapio Pulkkanen led by a shot at the halfway stage of the European Tour’s South African Open after a 5-under 66 in the second round on Friday.
The Finnish golfer is 11 under overall and holds a slim advantage over England’s Sam Horsfield (68) and four home players tied with Horsfield for second. Those South Africans are amateur Jayden Trey Schaper (67), Thriston Lawrence (65), Jaco Alhers (66) and Trevor Fisher Jr (67).
Pulkkanen made five birdies in total and three in a row on the front nine at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg. He’s dropped just one shot so far at the tournament, his third hole of the opening round. Pulkkanen is seeking a first win on the European Tour.
American rookie Johannes Veerman led after the first round with a 62 but found it tougher going in the second and dropped to a tie for seventh with a level-par 71, two shots behind. Veerman carded five birdies and five bogeys in an erratic second round after he ripped up the course with nine birdies and no dropped shots on Thursday.
Big-name South African players Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel had mixed fortunes at Randpark.
Former British Open champion Oosthuizen was in a tie for 11th after a 2-under 69. That was a pretty subdued round from Oosthuizen but one of his three birdies came from a fabulous approach at No. 3 that spun back to within a foot of the cup. Oosthuizen was 8 under and three shots off the pace on a packed leaderboard.
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, opened with a 73 and missed the cut despite a minor fightback in a second-round 67.
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