SA Open

Frenchman fries the field

2008-12-19 19:01
Michael Lorenzo-Vera (AFP)
Cape Town - The second day at the SA Open at Pearl Valley belonged to Sunshine Tour rookie Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera whose 65 strokes on Thursday allowed him to move two shots clear at the top of the leader board.

The 23-year-old who was still playing in the second tier Challenge Tour in 2007 was ruthless on the incoming nine where he carded five birdies while playing the first six holes. That feat matched his display on Wednesday when he also conquered the same stretch on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course to return five birdies.

He started off the day with a birdie but then had to settle for seven pars on the trot. With his 67 first-round strokes his aggregate of 132 was just too good for the rest of the field.

"On the front (outgoing) nine, the putts were not really good enough, I don't know why," said Lorenzo-Vera. "I had a few long putts." The Frenchman will be hoping to repeat his dashing form when the third round gets under way on Friday.

"I hope this time I'm going to catch it," he said. "I had a few occasions last year, and I let it go, so just going to try to make a good weekend. I hit a lot of greens in regulation like I did today, so waiting for the chances to go in. We'll see.

"I had three good months. I had a second place in China and a few good places on the big ones." "My putting is good and I can shoot pretty low. So I don't want to struggle making pars all day long.

"I'm not sure that I'm going to have the patience for it. I'm working on it." Behind Lorenzo-Vera, top dogs Ernie Els (South Africa) and Lee Westwood (England) were in a second-placed group of four that included Charl Schwartzel (SA) and Damien McGrane (Ireland) on 134.

Els matched his first-round 67 with the same score while Westwood came in on 68, two shots more than his first round offering.

Both only dropped shots once on Thursday.

''I had a nice day," said the 'Big Easy'. "I didn't have great rhythm to my swing at the start of my round, and you know, just kind of getting through that a little bit and then I've kind of found my swing a little bit.

"Missed quite a few putts here and there. But you'll in all, I've got to be happy with that. I haven't played for three weeks and find myself right there, 10-under. So can't complain." McGrane's 64, thanks to eight birdies, allowed him to share of the honours of best round for his day with South Africa's Thomas Aiken and marked a massive improvement on his first round 70 strokes.

Schwartzel was one of the stars of the day and his impressive 65 was built on a formidable streak from holes 10 to 13 which be completed with birdies.

The 135-stroke group included Aitken, Dave Horsey (England) and Gareth Maybin (Northern Ireland) Overnight leader Fabrizio Zanotti could not quite his first-round 64 and had to settle for 72, after he dropped four shots which halted his advance despite carding the same number of birdies on Thursday. He is one of seven golfers who are four shots off the pace (136) on the overnight leader board.

This group also included SA's celebrated Retief Goosen who with 66 produced a four-stroke improvement on his Wednesday score. He overcame his 4th and 14th holes lapses of the previous day and passed through the second round without dropping a shot.

"Yeah, it was nice to get a good round in today," said 'The Goose'. "I didn't feel all that comfortable with my game today. I changed putters and tried a different putter today and I made a few putts.

"Yesterday it was bad on the greens. Today was a little bit better.

"So, nice to get a good round in. Hopefully I won't be too far behind going into tomorrow (Friday).

"The wind has been tricky because it's playing out of all sorts of directions.

"You can play one hole into the wind and the next hole you play into the wind in the opposite direction. The wind is swirling at the moment and struggling to find a direction." Apart from Goosen and Zanotti the rest of the 136-stroke group are Len Mattice (USA), Ross McGowan (England), Michael Hoey (Northern Ireland), Branden Grace and Keith Horne (both South Africa).

Leading second round scores:

132 - Michael Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 67-65

134 - Ernie Els (RSA) 67-67, Damien McGrane (IRL) 70-64, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 69-65, Lee Westwood (ENG) 66-68

135 - Thomas Aiken (RSA) 71-64, David Horsey (ENG) 70-65, Gareth Maybin (NIR) 66-69

136 - Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 64-72, Retief Goosen (RSA) 70-66, Branden Grace (RSA) 69-67, Michael Hoey (NIR) 70-66, Keith Horne (RSA) 66-70, Len Mattiace (USA) 70-66, Ross McGowan (ENG) 66-70

137 - George Coetzee (RSA) 69-68, Carlos del Moral (ESP) 69-68, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 66-71, Jaco van Zyl (RSA) 66-71, Martin Wiegele (AUT) 69-68, Chris Wood (ENG) 68-69

138 - Ake Nilsson (SWE) 66-72, Adilson da Silva (BRA) 70-68, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 70-68, John Mellor (ENG) 70-68, Richie Ramsay (SCO) 66-72

139 - Richard Finch (ENG) 69-70, Trevor Fisher jnr (RSA) 72-67, Oskar Henningsson (SWE) 65-74


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