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Friday, 01 March 2002
Lee James carded a second round 65 to share the lead with fellow Englishman Ben Mason at the halfway stage of the Sameer Kenya Open in Nairobi.

They are on 11-under-par 131, a stroke ahead of Hennie Otto from South Africa, who signed for a second 66, and three clear of another Springbok, Titch Moore, and England's Sandeep Grewal.

James would have led on his own but his five iron approach to the 502 yard fourth hole stopped six inches away from securing an albatross. However, his eagle plus four birdies set the target, which Mason matched.

Mason, an avid Leeds United fan, declared himself "gutted" with their shock exit from the UEFA Cup but shook off the disappointment to follow up his opening 63 with 68.

After a shaky spell around the turn, Mason came home in 32 including an eagle at the 523-yard 18th for the second day running, chipping-in from off the back of the green.

"I'm delighted," he said, "because it's always difficult to follow a low score with another."

Otto, a graduate from the Challenge Tour in 1999, is in good form after a solid season on the Sunshine Tour and a second 66 proves he could easily make it three successive Springbok victories in the Kenya Championship.

Grewal shot 70 for 134, eight under, to share fourth spot with Moore, who added a 68 to his opening 66. But the best return of another hot and sunny day belonged to another South African, Jaco van Zyl, who signed for a bogey-free 64 with seven birdies after going out in 31.

That hoisted him into equal sixth spot on 135 alongside fellow countryman Martin Maritz (69), Sean Farrell (68) from Zimbabwe, and John Kiondo, still the leading Kenyan after a 71.

Four more English players are bracketed in 10th place on 136, David Geall, Simon Hurd and Gary Birch Jnr, who all went round in 67, and Philip Worthington, who matched James's 65.

Worthington, 23, from Reading, only turned professional last year and is making his Challenge Tour debut after receiving an invitation.

The halfway cut fell at two-under-par 140 with 52 players surviving. Among those who didn't was Scotland’s Scott Drummond, second in the Dimension Data Pro-Am in Sun City last month. Despite a 68, which left him on 141, it was a shot too far.

On the same mark was Italy’s Massimo Florioli after a 70, and Kariem Baraka from Germany with a 69. Former Kenya champions Craig Maltman and David Jones also missed out on 142 after 72 and 70 respectively, as did another winner, Mike Miller on 148 after 78.


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