Friday, 12 March 2004
South African Leonard Loxton “slam dunked” his way into the halfway lead at the Stanbic Zambia Open after an almighty eight iron at the par five 13th hole of the Lusaka Golf Club landed right in the middle of the cup for an albatross two.

The 26 year old from Vandyksdrift, who has not played tournament golf since July 2003, found his best form on day two of the Stanbic Zambia Open, a co-sanctioned event between the European Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour.

Loxton went to the turn in level par, picking up two birdies and two bogeys on the outward nine before coming home in spectacular fashion.

As well as his stunning albatross, Loxton picked up birdies on the tenth, 12th, 15th and 18th, with just one bogey at the 17th. All that drama equated to a second round, six under par 67 for Loxton, whose ten under, 136 aggregate score leads Scott Dunlap of America by one shot.

Loxton is hoping that he can continue his rich vein of form after suffering “the worst year of my career” in 2003. With no exemption on the Sunshine Tour and unable to make it through the rigorous qualifying process for tournaments, Loxton has struggled both on and off the course.

“This is my first tournament since July,” he said. “I just couldn’t qualify for tournaments because there are usually so few spots in the qualifiers that one or two under is just not good enough. It was tough. I’d say last year was my worst year since turning professional in 1998. My career pretty much came to a halt last year.

“This is the only way I know how to make money and it’s easy to slip into depression when things aren’t going your way. But it feels awesome to be playing in a tournament again.

“I was a bit nervous this week, having not played in a tournament for so long, so the front nine was a bit tough today, although I turned level par. I birdied the 10th, the 12th and hit my drive straight down the middle on the 13th.

“That’s when I took the eight iron and put it straight in the hole from 173 metres. It didn’t even pitch – just a slam dunk straight in.”

Dunlap compiled a second round 71 to lie just one behind Loxton, with Hernan Rey of Argentina another shot back after two rounds of 69 left him on eight under par.

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