South Africa's Charl Schwartzel watches his tee shot on the first hole during the second round - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain,15 July, 2016.
JOHANNESBURG – South African Charl Schwartzel moved into contention with a superb five-under par 66 in the second round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland on Friday.
Schwartzel lies six off the pace as American Phil Mickelson continued to lead the way with a second round 69 to get to 10 under par after 36 holes.
Following an opening one-over 72, Schwartzel took advantage of better scoring conditions in the morning on day two, although there was a persistent rain and cold temperatures, as he went out in a flawless five-under 31. The back nine which has proved the more difficult in the first two rounds, also was a battle for Schwartzel as he bogied 10 and 12. Birdies followed at 13 and 14 for the 31-year-old, before a string of four pars secured sixth place on four under overall going into the weekend.
The 2011 Masters Champion bizarrely decided to change equipment for the year’s third Major, but the move seems to be paying off at the moment.
The next best-placed South African was Richard Sterne who struggled to a three-over 74 to fall back to level par for the tournament. Sterne, a former SA Open Champion, holds 27th place going into the third round.
South Africa’s top-ranked Branden Grace, at 10th in the world rankings, shot 74 to end on two-over at the halfway stage in a tie for 50th.
Zander Lombard, making his first appearance at the Open, could not match his first round 69 as he signed for 76 to end on three-over for the two rounds and make the cut by one in 58th position.
Haydn Porteous, also making his Major debut, double-bogied his final hole in round two for a five-over 76. The 22-year-old, however, made the cut on four-over in a tie for 67th courtesy of a first round of 70 which included an opening nine of six-under par 30.
Ernie Els (+5, 71 76) and George Coetzee (+5, 75 72) both missed the cut by one.
The third South African making his debut, Brandon Stone ended his first appearance in a Major on nine over following rounds of 73 and 78.
The biggest surprise from a South African perspective was Louis Oosthuizen shooting a second round 12-over 83. After a level-par opening round, the 2010 Open Champion would have been expecting a climb up the leaderboard setting up his challenge for the Claret Jug. Instead, King Louis will have the weekend off.