A strong finish from joint overnight leader Mark Murless allowed the South African to stay top of the leaderboard after day two at the Joburg Open on Friday.
A birdie and eagle on his last two holes helped the 31-year-old to a 68 which lifted him to nine under for the tournament – a shot ahead of Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, who also shot 68.
It was another rainy day in Johannesburg but the constant drizzle failed to prevent Darren Clarke from bouncing back after a poor first round as he finished with a 65 to move to four under.
There were several other scores of 65 with South African Warren Abery setting the benchmark early on after overnight rain had delayed the start by an hour.
Compatriots Chris Williams, Dawie Van der Walt and Branden Grace also managed six-under-par rounds, along with England’s Robert Rock and Austrian Florian Praegant.
Abery’s effort, added to his opening 70, kept him in tied third place along with Charl Coetzee and co-overnight leader Tyrone Ferreira.
But Murless would have been breathing a sigh of relief after his dose of double fortune before the close.
Heading into the final two holes, he was level par for the round before he turned on the magic.
“I hit a crack of a drive (on 18) but left myself with an impossible yardage,” explained Murless.
“I don’t have a club in my bag for that yardage – I had 230 metres (250 yards) to the flag.
“My three iron is never going to get me there and my three wood is just too much club. I ended up hitting a soft three wood and put the best swing I could on the shot and it worked out beautifully.
“Last year I also got into the good position in this tournament but didn’t pull it off. I just need to try and keep it simple and play this golf course the way it was designed to be played,” added Murless, who finished fourth last year.
Northern Irishman Clarke was a lot happier with his form after struggling on the opening day.
“I hit the ball better today and I putted really well,” he said.
“I didn’t hole everything but I sank a lot more six and seven-footers than yesterday so the round was a lot better.”
England’s Ross McGowan, who was second after round one, shot a four-over-par 75 to drop to one under for the tournament, the same as South African Airways Open winner James Kingston.
Both players just made the level-par cut for the weekend.