His second round of five-under-par 66 put him in third place behind Dane Thorbjorn Olesen who was on nine-under after a second-round 68, and morning leader Pelle Edberg of Sweden who was on eight-under, which left him in a good position to challenge for the title in the first tournament sanctioned by all three of the Sunshine Tour, The European Tour and the Asian Tour.
“The first four holes are really tough,” said Aiken. “It’s a matter of just getting through them and then trying to make a score on the last five. I managed to get through them pretty well with some good up-and-downs which really kept the momentum going.”
He shared third spot at the halfway mark with countryman Dean Burmester and with young Matthew Fitzpatrick of England.
Aiken started his second round on the 10th, and made just a single birdie on what is regarded by the players as the easier of the two nines. “I hit nine greens in regulation and gave myself a good chance at every hole, but only made one,” he said.
He managed to make a birdie immediately after the turn, and then kept his card bogey-free while picking up three more birdies in his final four holes. And that flourish of a finish came despite difficulties on his penultimate hole, the eighth. “It was 235 yards and I hit a three-iron and I missed the green. I had a really awkward stance and it just popped up. I ended up chipping again and managed to chip that one in,” he said.
He signed off with a flourish, his approach to the ninth landing just beyond the hole and spinning back to within two feet – and he rattled in the subsequent birdie putt. “The putter behaved the last nine holes today, but other than that. I putted pretty averagely,” he said. “I hope it continues to behave over the weekend.”
Next best pf the South Africans after Aiken and Burmester was George Coetzee, who made six birdies and two bogeys on his way to a four-under 67, and a halfway score of five-under-par. Thereafter came Oliver Bekker, who had to grit his way through a stomach upset to a level-par second round. He also was on five-under.
For Aiken, the final two rounds will involve keeping errors off the card. “You’ve got to play good golf and I think this week is more about not making too many mistakes rather than making a lot of birdies,” he said. “So I’ll try and keep mistakes off the card and I hope I can keep doing that for the weekend.”