Trio lead Joburg Open
Johannesburg - The trio of Jamie Elson, Garth Mulroy and Charl Schwartzel all reached 13 under after two rounds of the Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Friday afternoon.
After a delay of nearly three hours, the morning field came back out to finish off their rounds.
It was Charl Schwartzel who made the biggest surge up the leaderboard with a staggering 10 under par 61 on the easier west course to claim a share of the lead.
His round included 10 birdies and no drop shots, which would have seen him score the course record but for the lift, clean and drop ruling meaning the round cannot be considered for the record.
Schwartzel, the defending champion, was in a confident mood.
"I think it was eight birdies too little. I was trying for 18."
Schwartzel said his swing had not been quite right in the past few weeks.
"I phoned Hendrik Buhrmann on Wednesday, after nine holes, and told him that I need help," he said.
Buhrmann, a Sunshine Tour veteran has been helping out a number of players.
"He came out and gave me some really good advice, and today it really fell into place," said Schwartzel.
Co-leader Elson, from England, who shot seven under par 64 on the east course spoke about the conditions.
"It's just playing long, placing real importance on hitting the fairways. The more fairways you hit, the more birdie chances you're going to have.
"It really is target golf. There's not much wind out there. The greens are holding. If you're swinging well, there's a lot of birdies out there," he said.
Mulroy, from Umkomaas, also fired a 64 on the longer east course layout.
His round got off to a slow start with a bogey on the 235 metre par three second hole, but made up quickly with a birdie on four followed with birdies on holes six, seven and nine with an eagle on the eighth.
"I hit a good teeshot on eight, hit my second quite a long way from the hole and holed a long putt.
"After the rain, the greens are soft and slow too. You can really go at your putts now," said Mulroy.
A further shot behind on 12 under par were the South African pair of Thomas Aiken and James Kingston.
Kingston fired a near flawless nine under par 62 with his only drop shot coming on his final hole.
Halfway through the second round, it was still the west course proving the better for scoring.