JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Three-time champion Charl Schwartzel stormed into a five-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Friday, mastering difficult windy conditions with a 67 to add to his opening 66.
Schwartzel, 31, stands at 11 under for the two rounds of the 2015/2016 season-opening event at Malelane where he has also finished runner-up on four occasions.
Benjamin Hebert, Joost Luiten, Pablo Martin and Richard Sterne are all five shots behind the South African leader who was Masters champion in 2011.
“Every year I ve come back here, as soon as I arrive I get that real comfort feeling, a peaceful feeling and it is to do with the surroundings, the nature. It s a place I normally go to to relax so I m playing in a very relaxed environment,” said Schwartzel of the stunning venue on the edge of the Kruger National Park.
“On top of that the golf course also suits my eye really well. The last 10 years I ve aimed at the same trees on every hole at the end of the fairway.”
While Schwartzel was blazing through the field, defending champion Branden Grace and fellow former major winner Louis Oosthuizen were battling to make the cut.
An eight on the par-three seventh contributed to a two-over total which saw Oosthuizen miss his seventh cut in 12 appearances at this event where he has also finished second twice.
Grace was in danger when he turned in 37 but an eagle on the 13th and a birdie on the 15th meant he could afford to bogey the 16th and 17th to finish level par.