England’s Graeme Storm was the last player on the 2016 Race to Dubai that retained his playing rights and scraped through for this season.
But that seemed a distant memory as he equalled the course record at Glendower Golf Club on Friday for a 12 under par total and the midway lead at the SA Open.
‘I struggled last year and had a tough finish,’ said. ‘To get a reprieve and the opportunity to play on the European Tour again is massive and I didn’t want to let it slip away where I rest on my laurels.’
‘I felt that I needed to play early in the year and get off to a nice start. And I’ve done that.
To equal a course record is always good, any time you shoot a score like that is good.’
The 38-year-old started his round with birdies at the 10th, 11th, and 12th and never looked back. He posted another birdie at the 18th then five more over the front side before signing for 63.
‘I got off of a quick start today and the momentum just kept going. I had 27 putts today, with a three-putt in there. I’m looking forward to the weekend now. It’s going to be tough, I know that, but I’ll keep playing the way I am and see where it takes me,’ he said.
Storm ties the course record ✍?
Leader by two. pic.twitter.com/2mdUasl3CT
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 13, 2017
Jbe’ Kruger was tied for second place on 10 under par after posting two rounds of 67, the latter of which included an eagle at the eighth hole.
The Bloemfonteiner has won on the European Tour before and has the local crowds behind him, so he’ll be looking to join countrymen Gary Player, Bobby Locke, and Ernie Els as champions of the national open.
American Peter Uihlein was the other player in second place after carding an eight under par 64 on Friday. The 27-year-old made nine birdies and just one bogey in the second round to move within two shots of the lead.
Keith Horne was co-leader at the start of round two, but shot a round of 69 on Friday and shared fourth place with Englishmen Laurie Canter and Jordan Smith on nine under par.