England’s Iain Pyman mastered the course and conditions at Karen Country Club to move into a share of the lead on day two of the Tusker Kenya Open on the European Challenge Tour.
Despite cool temperatures and gusting winds more in keeping with his native Leeds than Nairobi, Pyman posted an astonishing eight birdies and one eagle in a superb round marred only by a double bogey at the third hole.
The 35 year old’s eight under par 63, combined with a level par round on the first day, propelled him to the top of the leaderboard alongside overnight leader Daniel Barbetti of Argentina, who carded a 69.
European Tour Member Pyman, who is seeking his eighth Challenge Tour title, said: “I missed out on qualification for the Malaysian Open, so I thought I’d come to Kenya to get some match practice and a bit of sun on my back. I certainly got one, if not the other: it was so cold this morning, I had to wear my waterproofs. It felt like being back home in Yorkshire!
“But I was obviously pleased with the round, which could’ve been even better because I missed a few makeable putts. It’s quite tough out there, because the course is fairly bouncy – if you miss the green, you’re in the lap of the gods. So to shoot 63 was quite an achievement.”
Barbetti’s round of 69 was four shots more than his scintillating score on the opening day, but the young Argentine was still content with his day’s work after having to contend with strong winds in the afternoon.
He said: “It’s very difficult to play in such conditions, because the wind changes direction from one minute to the next. The main difference between my two rounds was that my driving yesterday was very good, whereas today I had more difficulty off the tee. But I’m still in contention, which is good. I came here to win, and I’ve given myself a very good chance to do that.”
England’s Steve Lewton moved into third place with a fine round of 66, which featured seven birdies. Lewton was trailed by one shot by the Scottish duo of Scott Henderson and Greig Hutcheon, both of whom shot one under par rounds of 70 after their 67s yesterday.
Henderson, a former winner of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award, posted three birdies on the front nine before losing his momentum after the turn. Three-time Challenge Tour winner Hutcheon also made a blistering start with birdies on his first two holes, only to suffer bogeys at the 10th and 11th.