Pablo Martin has his sights set on claiming a second victory in seven days after taking the clubhouse lead in the South African Open Championship.
Martin, the only player to win European Tour titles as an amateur and a professional, won the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday.
And the 23 year old is on track for back-to-back wins after adding a 68 to his opening 65 at Pearl Valley Golf Estates.
That gave the Spaniard an 11 under par halfway total of 133 and a two shot lead over Denmark’s Anders Hansen, who carded a 69.
Starting on the back nine, Martin birdied the tenth, 12th and 16th before running up a double bogey six on the 17th.
However, he bounced straight back with a birdie on the 18th to reach the turn in 34 and, after another bogey on the first, rolled in a hat-trick of birdies from the third.
“I think you need to take advantage of the par fives on this golf course,” he said.
“It was playing easy this morning this course, I think, it wasn’t playing so difficult.
“The greens were a little soft and not as fast as yesterday and not that much wind. I thought somebody would shoot very low.”
Hansen carded six birdies in his round, but also ran up a double bogey six on the first and dropped another shot on the eighth.
“Golf is more than just hitting perfect golf shots,” said Hansen. “I believe that if you keep plugging at it, good things will happen.”
None of the afternoon starters were able to challenge Martin’s lead, including overnight leader Martin Erlandsson.
Erlandsson carded an opening 64 on Thursday but bogeyed the first and never got any momentum going.
The Swede dropped another shot on the tenth and carded two more bogeys and two birdies on the way home to return a disappointing 74 and lie five shots off the pace on six under.
Another Spaniard, Alejandro Cañizares, moved into third with 67 to reach eight under, one shot ahead of in-form Italian Edoardo and South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen has had 13 top-ten finishes on The European Tour without a victory, but is desperate to break his duck in an event that has been won by a home player eight years running.
Shot of the day came from Scotland’s Callum Macaulay, who fired a hole-in-one on the 15th in a round of 69.
That left him in a share of tenth place on five under par.
|T4||ANDERSSON HED, Fredrik||SWE||18||-11|
|T6||MARTIN BENAVIDES, Pablo||ESP||18||-10|