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Friday, 10 December 2010
Anthony Michael  (Getty Images)
Anthony Michael (Getty Images)

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Rookie Anthony Michael continued his excellent start to the Alfred Dunhill Championship by moving two strokes clear at the halfway stage in Malelane.

The South African carded a three under par 69 to follow up his 66 on day one - although his round was more up and down as it included three bogeys mixed amongst six birdies.

However, it was good enough to keep him top of the leaderboard at the Leopard Creek Country Club, where his closest challenge was coming from a trio of players in compatriots Alex Haindl and Dawie Van der Walt along with Englishman Robert Rock.

Haindl was particularly impressive, storming his way around the course in a bogey-free six under 66, a round that was set up by a set of eagles on the par five 15th and par five second along with two birdies.

Still, the 27 year old from Bloemfontein, who began on the back nine, was not entirely satisfied.

He said: "I hit nice hybrids in for my eagles - on the front edge on 15 where I sank quite a nice putt, and I hit it to about seven feet on two.

"I three-putted once, and I missed quite a few six footers. The greens are quite difficult - there's quite a bit of grain in them. But the rest of my game's been good," he added.

"It's been a much better year for me. All the work I've been doing with my coach John Dixon's starting to come through."

Norwegian Marius Thorp was all alone on six under par overall after following his 67 up with a 71, while six players were further back on five under.

Defending champion Pablo Martin was one of them after a round of 70, along with another local Keith Horne, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, Swede Oskar Henningsson and Britons Scott Jamieson and Neil Cheetham.

Overall leader and baseball-fanatic Michael, who only turned professional a year ago, admitted he was happy to have achieved his target set out at the start of play.

He said: "I went out there today just to shoot under 70. I said that if I can shoot three rounds under 70 that will be really good.

"I got off to a pretty good start and that took some of the pressure off and from there I kicked on.

"I felt comfortable out there and there was a sense of belonging for me. So all in all, I'm quite happy."

Rock holed from eight feet for birdie at the 15th in a round with four gains and two dropped shots.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MARTIN BENAVIDES, PabloESP18-11
T2OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-9
T2SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-9
T2MICHAEL, AnthonyRSA18-9
5AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-7
T6DINWIDDIE, RobertENG18-6
R2D Fantasy

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