A wonderful round of eight-under-par 62 by Spaniard Adrian Otaegui saw him claim a two-stroke lead after the second round of the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Friday.
Otaegui, who grew up in the same northern Spanish seaside resort town of Fuenterrabia as Jose-Maria Olazabal and is mentored by the former Ryder Cup captain, went out in the first three-ball of the day and conquered the parklands course with five successive birdies from the eighth hole.
“We were first to tee off this morning and the conditions were perfect. I like playing that early and I did really well, made a lot of birdies and I’m happy with my round. It was a good round from the beginning, the greens were perfect because we opened the course. They were good yesterday, but when you play first the course is in very good condition and you can take advantage.
“I like these type of courses that are old-style and have trees, so that you have to place the ball. You don’t need to hit it far, but rather put in a place where you can attack the pins. Even if I missed a few tee shots today, I hit some good irons and gave myself birdie chances,” Otaegui said after his best round on the European Tour.
Pretoria Country Club was a tougher prospect on the second day, with a gentle but capricious breeze, and first-round leaders Morten Orum Madsen and David Horsey both slipped down the leaderboard.
Englishman Horsey managed to limit the damage with a one-under-par 69 that leaves him on eight-under, three behind Otaegui and one behind second-placed South African Merrick Bremner, who produced a four-under-par 66 to go to nine-under.
Madsen, from Denmark, knew he was in for a tough day as he double-bogeyed the first and fourth holes. He dropped further shots on the ninth and 10th, before cruising to three successive birdies, picking up another shot on 17, but then stalling with a bogey on the last to finish with a two-over 72, six shots off the pace.
Bremner motored to the end of his round, which started on the 10th, with four birdies in his last six holes to reach the halfway stage of the tournament alone in second place, to show that big drivers of the ball can still succeed on the tight course, providing they are accurate.
The best of the afternoon rounds would come from Trevor Fisher Junior, fresh off a breakthrough win in last weekend’s Africa Open. The South African had four successive birdies from the sixth hole to set up a 66 that lifted him to eight-under for the tournament, in a tie for third with Horsey, Keith Horne and Edoardo Molinari.