South Africa moved into a two stroke lead over France and the United States at the halfway stage of the World Golf Championships – World Cup as the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island again demanded a massive test of patience to the 23 competing nations.
Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini fired the best round foursomes round of the day with a three under par 69 – the only score under 70 – on a much more benign day in South Carolina. The South African pair are on 139, five under par, and two ahead of the Frenchmen, Raphaël Jacquelin and Thomas Levet and the US pairing of Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard.
Jacquelin and Levet, playing together for the third time, shot a level par 72 for 141 while the US Open Champion Furyk and former Open Champion Leonard dovetailed well to sign for a round of 70.
The Welsh team of Bradley Dredge and Ian Woosnam come next in fourth place on 142 with Argentina on 141 as the only teams in the competition to stand under par after the first two rounds.
Immelman, competing in his first WGC - World Cup, admitted: "All in all, that was probably one of the best rounds I've played all year. We played real solid all day and putted well too."
France, tied eighth two years ago, finished more strongly than anyone with two birdies in the last five holes and Jacquelin said: “Luckily there was no wind today or it would have been a nightmare for all of us due to the difficulty of the course. We tried our best and had a good finish.
“Both Thomas and I had a good feeling on the greens and we know that playing well in the foursomes is the key to the week. After the first two days we are quite confident.”
Wales, after a moderate start, stayed in the hunt thanks to the competitive genius of Woosnam, who played a magnificent approach to the 15th to set up a birdie three and again at the 17th after Dredge had knocked his tee shot into the water. The former Masters Champion pitched close from the drop zone and Dredge helped his team escape with a bogey.
“We threw away a few shots out there” said Woosnam. “However we are still in there. Three shots behind is nothing here and hopefully we can shoot the lights out tomorrow in fourballs.”
Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth and Paul Lawrie claimed the distinction of the only eagle over the first two days play at the Ocean Course – a testimony to the difficulty of the test. Forsyth pitched in from 40 yards and a further birdie at the ninth moved the Scots to three under par.
However three bogeys to close cost the Scots dearly and they finished alongside first round leaders Germany and Sweden on level par. Lawrie admitted: “We played very solidly today but I had a poor decision at the 16th and hit a bad tee shot at the 17th. Hopefully we can shoot six or seven under tomorrow.”
England are seven shots behind on two over par with ireland, the winners six years ago at Kiawah Island, trailing by ten at the halfway stage.