Kingston’s fire not doused by Joburg Open rain

James Kingston was one of the players who really didn’t want the storm to come in the second round of the €1.3-million Joburg Open being played at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

A thunderstorm followed by soaking rain saw play suspended at 10.31am.

The 2007 SA Open champion and two-time winner on the European Tour, which is co-sanctioning the Joburg Open with the Sunshine Tour, raced to a superlative six-under-par 30 on the opening nine of the West Course, and picked up another birdie on the 10th to move to seven-under through 12 holes.

Combined with his three-under opening on the East Course – play is scheduled for a round over each of the courses ahead of the cut to 65 players and ties, before the final two rounds are contested over the more difficult East Course – Kingston’s total of 10-under put him three off the early blistering pace set by Thomas Aiken.

“I’m not sure what my best round on the West Course is – I think it’s a 64,” said Kingston as he cooled his heels in the players’ lounge, “but I’m not thinking that far ahead.”

His seven-under blitz was matched by defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who turned in five-under 31 and made two more birdies in the next three holes to join Kingston at 10-under for the tournament.

“The rain’s a bit of a momentum-breaker,” said Kingston, “which is a pity because I was enjoying it out there.”

Aiken had followed up his seven-under start on the East Course with six-under through 12 on the West Course – a score that included a dropped shot in the217-metre (237-yard) par-three eighth.

He led by one at the weather delay from England’s Jamie Elson, who had reeled off five consecutive birdies ahead of the East Course turn. He made one more in the following six holes and was at six-under through 15 at the break.

Overnight co-leader Martin Maritz turned at three-under 33 on the West course with a birdie on two and an eagle three on nine to join Elson on 12-under.

Tyrone Mordt, the other man who led after the first round, was at two-under through six on the East Course to join Garth Mulroy on 11-under.

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