Scorching first nine earns Schwartzel share of lead

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, pictured below, held a share of the lead at the midway point of the South African Open thanks to a blistering front nine in his second round.

Scorching first nine earns Schwartzel share of lead

Tournament favourite Schwartzel recorded five birdies and an eagle as he reached the turn in seven under par as he powered up the leaderboard after going out as one of the latter starters.

He could not continue that stunning form on the back nine, with three successive birdies from the 14th being cancelled out by bogeys on the 10th, 13th and 17th as he came back in par, but his 65 was still enough to see him end the day in joint top spot on 12 under alongside Marco Crespi.

Crespi followed up his 65 on the first day with a 67 yesterday. The 35-year-old Italian, who has only had his European Tour card seven days after finishing third at the Qualifying School at Catalunya, carded six birdies – four of which came on the front nine – and just the one bogey.

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