Coetzee moves into halfway lead in Joburg Open

George Coetzee moved into a share of the lead of the Joburg Open with a second-round five-under-par 67 on Saturday as defending champion Charl Schwartzel missed the cut.

The second round in the weather-affected event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club was completed just before noon and Coetzee found himself at 11-under-par at the head of the field with the England duo of Robert Rock and Richard Finch.

Finch’s round was adorned with an ace on the 12th on the East Course. He used a six-iron for the 188-metre par-three to record the third hole-in-one of his professional career. “It’s actually my second in South Africa,” he said. “I made one at Humewood a few years ago in the South African Open Championship. And then I made one other at the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles.”

Coetzee closed with a frustrating bogey on the East Course which denied him the outright lead. “I’m not happy about that,” he said. “I was playing well, and I thought when I made that par on 16 that I could push for a couple more birdies. As soon as you say that, the bogey happens.”

Rock completed his second round ahead of the storm on Friday, and he and the other two leaders take a slender one-stroke edge over Jbe’ Kruger, Branden Grace and Retief Goosen into the third round.

Kruger and Grace also completed their second rounds on schedule, while Goosen had to finish up in the morning. “It was a very early start,” he said. “I had to be up at four this morning.”

But he’s happy with his position: “To be one off the lead ahead of the cut is a good place to be. My game is feeling good and things are not looking bad with two rounds to play,” he said.

Coetzee was determined to put the closing bogey from the second round behind him. “I’ll just try to make pars for the rest of the day!” he said. “Bogeys happen. It’s better to get it out of the way quickly, before I start worrying about it too much, because if I get too many holes without a bogey, then I start worrying about it.”

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