Sunday March 3, 2013
Coetzee keeps lead in rain-hit Tshwane Open
PRETORIA (South Africa): South African Charl Coetzee stayed on top of the Tshwane Open leaderboard yesterday when the storm-interrupted second round was completed.
Rounds of 67 and 65 gave the golfer ranked 972 in the world a 12-under halfway total of 132 at the 7,124m Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate southwest of here.
Coetzee was among those who completed their second round Friday before a mid-afternoon thunderstorm forced play to be abandoned two hours ahead of schedule, and it resumed at 0645 local time yesterday. He is one stroke ahead of Chilean Mark Tullo (67-66) and South African Dawie van der Walt (68-65) in the sixth and final European Tour-Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event staged in the republic this season.
American Peter Uihlein (68-66) is alone in fourth place on 134 and first round leader Darren Fichardt (65-71) of South Africa is among a group of 10 four strokes off the lead.
Coetzee is trying to emulate compatriots Richard Sterne and Fichardt, who won the Joburg Open and Africa Open tournaments respectively last month, as South Africa hosts a record number of European Tour events.
Former Major champions Darren Clarke (69-73) of Northern Ireland and Jose Maria Olazabal (76-66) of Spain finished on 142 - the cut-off score to play in the final two rounds.
Olazabal, who skippered Europe to a dramatic Ryder Cup triumph over the United States in Medinah last year, seemed doomed to an early return home after his four-over round Thursday.
But the 47-year-old, who won the 1994 and 1999 US Masters titles, followed up four front-nine birdies with a further three over the last four holes to survive the halfway chop. ó AFP