Fun for Charl as he hits the front in Tshwane Open

Charl Coetzee had fun on Friday on his way to the early second-round lead of the €1.5-million Tshwane Open being played at The Els Club Copperleaf.

He carded an error-free seven-under-par 65 to move to 12-under at the halfway stage of the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour. That gave him a four-stroke cushion in the clubhouse over David Howell and Danny Willett of England.

“I haven’t had this much fun in a long time,” he said. “It’s always nice to play well and it goes both ways, the better you play, the more you enjoy it.”

Coetzee, who turns 32 on Monday, has yet to win as a professional, and he gave himself a shot at a title that carries more than a R2.78-million cheque with his seven birdies: A victory will give him access to the European Tour for the remainder of this year and for two more.

“There’s a lot of golf left and some of the first-round leaders only teed off now, so we’ve got today and two more rounds,” he said as he avoided speculating about what lies ahead.

It was a day which started after overnight rain had softened up the course, making it play even longer – but it made the greens more receptive to approach shots, and the leaders took advantage of that.

Willett made six birdies, and his charge for the top was stymied only by two bogeys – on nine and on 18. “Nine is playing particularly tough today, and 18 was my only bad shot of the day,” he said.

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