South African Keith Horne, who missed out by three shots at the European Tour qualifying school in November, charged to the top of the leaderboard when the Joburg Open resumed today.
Only joint 41st overnight, the 38-year-old switched to the easier West course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and covered the first 12 holes in six under par.
An eagle on the long ninth and birdies at the second, fifth, sixth and 12th took Horne to nine under and alongside England’s David Lynn.
Surprise first-round leader Neil Schietekat was on the longer and far tougher East lay-out and, following his sparkling 62, the Johannesburg golfer bogeyed the first and eighth before coming back with a birdie on the next.
Horne has made five attempts to gain a European Tour card without success after making a late entry into the professional ranks at the age of 25.
Before that he was a soldier for a year and earned an honours degree in industrial relations.
Lynn, whose only Tour victory remains the 2004 KLM Open in Holland, was only one behind after his opening 63 on the West and he then picked up further birdies at the first and sixth but also bogeyed the fourth.
Alongside Schietekat in third place were his compatriots Charl Schwartzel, James Kamte, Oliver Bekker and Jbe Kruger, plus Northern Irishman Darren Clarke and England’s Danny Willett.
Schwartzel was the title favourite after his win in the Africa Open last Sunday, while Clarke’s 63 was his lowest European Tour round since his record-equalling 60 in the 1999 European Open at The K Club near Dublin.
He and playing partner Schwartzel were among the later starters.