A new 36-hole scoring record was set on Friday at the 149th Open Championship, breaking the one held since 1992 when Sir Nick Faldo went around Muirfield in 130 strokes. The golfer who set the new benchmark of 129? The king himself, Louis Oosthuizen.
A round of 65 by the popular South African allow the 2010 Open Champion to stretch his lead to two strokes ahead of Collin Morikawa, who had the joint-best round of the day with 64. The duo will play together in the final pairing tomorrow afternoon when conditions are expected to be similar to those experienced in round two.
The next best-placed South African is Dylan Frittelli, sitting in a tie for fourth with world No 1 Dustin Johnson and fellow Texas Longhorn Scottie Scheffler. Continuing with the Texas connection, Frittelli will peg it up tomorrow with a former college teammate from their 2012 NCAA championship-winning side, Jordan Spieth.
Also sitting inside the top 10 after two rounds are the two South Africans who secured back-to-back victories in Kenya on the European Tour earlier this year. Justin Harding and Daniel van Tonder are in a tie for seventh place with 36 holes to play, after signing for rounds of 67 and 66, respectively.
Making it five South Africans in the top 25 and ties, Dean Burmester got to five under par before costly bogeys on 15 and 18 set him back slightly, signing for an eventual score of 67. Burmester sits eight shots behind the leader on three under par at the halfway stage in his debut Open Championship.
Despite struggling on their inward nines, both Christiaan Bezuidenhout and JC Ritchie did just enough to find themselves inside the cut line, which fell at one-over-par 141. While Bezuidenhout will be pleased to have made the cut after missing out at the recent US Open, this is a monumental achievement for Ritchie and extremely well deserved after years of cutting his teeth on the Sunshine Tour.
With the top 65 and ties making it through to round three, the following South Africans are heading home early: Erik van Rooyen, Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Shaun Norris and Garrick Higgo. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the week this quintet of supremely talented individuals were looking for and they will no doubt be wanting to rectify their mistakes at their next tournaments.
As for the eight South Africans still in contention, we look forward to another incredibly exciting day on the links at Royal St Georges where we will be hoping Oosthuizen can extend his lead and the South Africans in the chasing pack can all make further inroads at the top of the leaderboard.
© Agence France-Presse