Madsen shows love with SA Open lead

Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen likes South Africa – and he showed his affection with a sparkling six-under-par 66 on Friday in the second round of the South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club.

 

It left him one off the early halfway lead which was held by Italy’s Marco Crespi, who fired a second-round 67 to go with his opening 65 to lead on 12-under-par. South Africa’s Jbe’ Kruger carded a two-under-par 70 to move into an early third spot at nine-under for the tournament.

 

“I love coming down here. I’ve had some family that live down here and I’ve come down here on holiday a few times,” he said. “I played a lot of tournaments down here, last year especially.”

 

And, but for a bogey on 17 – the only blemish on a card littered with seven birdies – he would have even more on course to do better than his Share of fourth in last year’s Nelson Mandela Championship and of eighth in this year’s Tshwane Open.

 

He hits the ball a long way off the tee, and, if you’re wayward, that can be a liability at Glendower. “I hit a few shots today that I got away with a little bit, so I have to tighten up some spots in my game,” he said.

 

And even though the rough hasn’t grown really thick at Glendower, it can present problems: “If you’re in the rough it’s very tough to get the right yardage,” he said. “The ball either comes out dead or flies, so it’s really important to be on the fairway.”

 

Madsen, who plays out of the same Silkeborg Golf Club as Thomas Bjorn, made sure the rest of his game was on point as he kept Crespi in his sights. “My approach shots today were very good. I had a lot of very good looks at birdie inside 15 feet, maybe even closer. I left a couple of putts out there, so my approach game was especially good.

 

“My short game has been really good and a couple of times I was in trouble and saved myself, which was pretty nice,” he added.

 

Crespi was thrilled to have added a second good round to his first-ever tournament on the European Tour. “I missed a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today,” he said. “My long game was not how I like to play. My putting and chipping was pretty amazing.”

 

Kruger was relieved to have held things together with his 70 after his opening 65. “I couldn’t sink a putt today,” he said, “but I held it together well, and I certainly wouldn’t have done that at the beginning of the year.”

 

England’s Tom Lewis and overnight leader Matt Nixon were in a share of fourth at eight-under, while two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen was one of five South Africans on seven-under.

 

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