Sunshine Tour

Pulkkanen holds slender lead in Joburg

2017-12-08 18:11
Taipo Pulkkanen (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen was in scintillating form in round two of the Joburg Open where he charged to a flawless eight-under-par 64 to total 14-under and take a one-shot lead into the weekend at Randpark Golf Club.

The rest of the players will have to wait overnight for the completion of the second round after a late-afternoon thunderstorm halted play with 19 players yet to complete their rounds ahead of the halfway cut.

After closing the first round on the Bushwillow course with back-to-back birdies, the fedora hat-wearing Pulkkanen showed no signs of slowing down as he opened his second round with six straight birdies and three pars on the front nine to turn in 30.

He didn't relent on the homeward stretch as he continued his birdie blitz with two more on 11 and 12 on the Firethorn course.

"It was a good start to my round, with six birdies in a row," noted Pulkkanen.

"I'm really happy with my game. I've been driving the ball really well, especially today. It's a fantastic feeling. The putter has been really hot. I practiced my aiming a little before the tournament and it's been much better this week. I had some tough times midway but I managed to get good pars and a couple of birdies on the back nine."

For a while, Pulkkanen and South Africa's Erik van Rooyen seemed to be going at each other in what many would have interpreted as a continuation of the duels from the European Challenge Tour where both players graduated last season.

"I was one behind him. We had good battles last season. I beat him in Kazakhstan, but he beat me in China. He's a fun guy," Pulkkanen said of his competition with Van Rooyen.

Pulkkanen, however, was not the only one who produced an enthralling round of golf for the fans in Johannesburg on moving day.

India's Shubhankar Sharma was just as dominant over on the Bushwillow course, signing for a jaw-dropping 10-under 61 to get to 13-under and second on the leaderboard.

Five birdies on either nine of the course ensured he was safely in contention going into the weekend and, provided he reproduces the similar performances in the next two rounds, he's in with a real shot at one of the three qualifying spots for next year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

"It was great," Sharma said. "I couldn't have done better. I made pretty much everything I looked at. I hit the ball pretty decent and made a few key up-and-downs. I couldn't have asked for a better round."

And while he won't get ahead of himself, the 21-year old admits the incentive of playing in The Open for the top three finishers not otherwise qualified in this tournament is a sweet carrot to have dangled for him.

"It is every golfer's dream to play in The Open but at the same time, I don't really want to think too much about it. It is only halfway through. I want to keep my head down and keep playing. To win is a big thing and whatever comes with it is a bonus."

Pulkkanen's countryman Mikko Korhonen shared third on 12-under with Van Rooyen, while Switzerland's JB Hansen and the English duo of Daniel Brooks and Steven Brown go into the weekend in a share of fifth on 10-under.

The second round will conclude tomorrow morning, after which the cut will be made and the third round will be played off two tees.

Incomplete scores:

-14 - Tapio Pulkkanen 65 64
-13 - Shubankar Sharma 69 61
-12 - Erik van Rooyen 64 67, Mikko Korhonen 66 65
-10 - Daniel Brooks 66 67, Joachim B. Hansen 66 67, Steven Brown 68 65
-9 - James Morrison 64 70, Adrien Saddier 69 65, Charlie Ford 70 64
-8 - Jaco Ahlers 67 68, Sebastian Heisele 64 71, Marcus Armitage 69 66, Kristian Krogh Johannessen 70 65, George Coetzee 68 67, Jinho Choi 69 66, MJ Viljoen 68 67, Richard Mcevoy 66 69
-7 - Jaco Prinsloo 67 69, Jeff Winther 70 66, Tjaart van der Walt 73 63, Oliver Farr 69 67, Aaron Rai 69 67, Oliver Bekker 66 70, Jean Hugo 68 68, Nathan Kimsey 65 71
-6 - Ockie Strydom 64 73, Stuart Manley 68 69, Vaughn Groenewald 71 66, Keenan Davidse 63 74, Chris Cannon 67 70, Shaun Norris 69 68, Gavin Green 70 67, Paul Peterson 70 67, Adrian Meronk 65 (Par) [17]
-5 - Hennie du Plessis 71 67, Alfie Plant 70 68, Hennie Otto 70 68, Christofer Blomstrand 70 68, Andre Nel 71 67, Garrick Porteous 68 70, Toby Tree 67 71, Terry Pilkadaris 68 70, Daniel Greene 70 68, Oliver Lindell 66 72, Ross McGowan 66 72, Stephen Ferreira 67 71, Matthew Baldwin 64 74, Matt Wallace 73 65, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 69 69, Carlos Pigem 67 71, Marco Iten 71 67, JC Ritchie 71 67, Breyten Meyer 70 (-4) [16], Jake Redman 70 (-4) [15]
-4 - Pep Angles 69 70, Adri Arnaus 69 70, Scott Vincent 71 68, Dylan Frittelli 70 69, Cody Martin 71 68, Jake Higginbottom 70 69, Lionel Weber 68 71, Rourke van der Spuy 70 69, Oscar Serna 72 67, Sam Chien 71 68, Jacquin Hess 68 71, Jacques Kruyswijk 70 69, Haydn Porteous 69 70, Tyrone Ryan 67 72, Mark Foster 71 68, Dean Burmester 66 73, Jens Dantorp 72 67, Andrea Pavan 66 73, Robert Macintyre 72 67, Jens Fahrbring 72 (-4) [17], Chris Swanepoel 67 (Par) [17], Johannes Veerman 70 (-3) [16], Andrew Curlewis 73 (-5) [16]

Projected cut:
-3 - Oscar Lengden 70 70, Romain Langasque 68 72, David Howell 71 69, Anthony Michael 69 71, Connor Syme 73 67, Jazz Janewattananond 70 70, Matthew Nixon 73 67, Justin Walters 68 72, Louis de Jager 70 70, Gary Stal 69 71, Jake Roos 70 70, Lorenzo Gagli 72 68, Toto Thimba 71 69, Scott Fernandez 71 69, Scott Barr 65 75, David Law 72 68, Callum Mowat 75 65, JJ Senekal 71 (-2) [16], Tirawat Kaewsiribandit 73 (-4) [16], Eirik Tage Johansen 73 (-4) [16], Victor Perez 73 (-4) [16]
-2 - Riekus Nortje 72 69, Jared Harvey 64 77, Gavin Moynihan 72 69, Tom Lewis 68 73, Masahiro Kawamura 69 72, Garth Mulroy 72 69, Jonathan Thomson 74 67, Tom Murray 72 69, Marcus Both 69 72, Benjamin Follett-Smith 69 72, Callum Tarren 70 71, Yanwei Liu 74 67, Coert Groenewald 71 70, Henric Sturehed 67 74, Phachara Khongwatmai 69 72, Anders Hansen 70 71, David Drysdale 74 67, Rhys West 69 72, Martin Rohwer 69 72, Adilson Da Silva 72 69, Duncan Stewart 71 70
-1 - Daniel van Tonder 71 71, Matt Ford 70 72, Joshua White 72 70, Sam Horsfield 68 74, Ulrich van den Berg 70 72, Titch Moore 73 69, Doug McGuigan 71 71, Thomas Aiken 70 72, Laurie Canter 74 68, Jack Harrison 69 73, Ryan Cairns 73 69, Jean-Paul Strydom 72 70, Matthew Carvell 70 72, Johan Edfors 72 70, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 71 71, Jason Knutzon 71 71, Kyle McClatchie 71 71, Darren Fichardt 75 67, Dawie Van der Walt 71 71, James Kamte 72 70, Bryce Easton 68 74, Jose-Filipe Lima 73 69, Javi Colomo 72 70, Casey O'Toole 72 (-2) [17], Zander Lombard 71 (-1) [17], Espen Kofstad 75 (-4) [16], Christiaan Basson 71 (-1) [16]
Par - Ben Evans 71 72, Matias Calderon 72 71, Omar Sandys 69 74, Theunis Spangenberg 69 74, Jonathan Agren 72 71, Kenneth Dube 71 72, Clinton Grobler 73 70, Aubrey Beckley 74 69, Stuart Smith 72 71, Jbe' Kruger 72 71, Ashun Wu 73 70, Bradley Neil 69 74, Mikael Lundberg 72 71, Alex Haindl 74 69, Ashley Chesters 71 72, Pontus Widegren 71 72, Zack Byrd 69 74, Colin Nel 74 (-2) [17]
+1 - Kalle Samooja 72 72, Simon Khan 74 70, Irvin Mazibuko 78 66, Joel Girrbach 72 72, Nico Geyger 72 72, Marcel Schneider 73 71, Michael Palmer 71 73, Sipho Bujela 76 68, Ryan Tipping 73 71, Neil Schietekat 72 72, Bryandrew Roelofsz 67 77, Desne Van Den Bergh 76 68, Charl Coetzee 73 71, Jacques Blaauw 76 68, Herman Loubser 68 76, Ruan de Smidt 72 72, John Michael O'Toole 74 70, Teaghan Gauche 73 71
+2 - Chanwoo Kim 73 72, Stefan Engell Andersen 74 71, Wallie Coetsee 74 71, Jack Munro 70 75, Peter Karmis 69 76, Scott Campbell 77 68, Matthew Spacey 70 75, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 73, Danie Van Niekerk 78 67, Jarin Todd 72 73, Mark Williams 70 75, Justin Harding 72 73, Danthai Boonma 75 70
+3 - Combrinck Smit 71 75, Keith Horne 69 77, Steve Webster 70 76, Marc Cayeux 69 77, Lindani Ndwandwe 73 73, Steve Lewton 74 72, Robin Williams 78 68, Andrew van der Knaap 70 76, Alexander Knappe 76 70, Martin Wiegele 71 75, Tyrone Ferreira 72 74, Madalitso Muthiya 71 75, N.J. Arnoldi 74 (Par) [15], Heinrich Bruiners 71 (+3) [15]
+4 - Sutijet Kooratanapisan 74 73, Paul Howard 74 73, Grant Forrest 72 75, Jason Viljoen 75 72, Wynand Dingle 72 75, Christopher Mivis 75 72, Andre De Decker 71 76, Steve Surry 74 73, Hugo Leon 77 70, Lyle Rowe 71 (+5) [17]
+5 - Petr Dedek 75 73, Luke Jerling 75 73, James Allan 75 73, Marcus Kinhult 78 70, Jason Froneman 74 74
+6 - Suradit Yongcharoenchai 74 75, Jason Diab 76 73, Birgir Hafthorsson 70 79
+7 - Scott Henry 77 73, Thanda Mavundla 76 74
+8 - James Heath 73 78, Dwayne Basson 76 75, Josh Geary 74 77, Leorin Pillay 79 72
+9 - Dayne Moore 76 76, Piya Swangarunporn 77 75
+10 - Phumlani Maluka 76 77
+11 - Dylan Naidoo 77 77
+17 - Cameron Esau 84 76
WDN - Joel Stalter 74 WDN

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  golf
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