Espen Kofstad (Getty Images)
Espen Kofstad turned in 32 as the man at the summit of The Challenge Tour rankings attempted to join his Scandinavian colleagues at the top of the SA Open Championship leaderboard.
The Norwegian, who is seeking his third victory of the season, produced a trio of birdies on the front nine, including a run of three successive gains at the sixth, seventh and eighth, as the rest of the field tried to respond to Henrik Stenson’s sensational round this morning.
Kofstad recorded five birdies on the back nine yesterday and he picked up another shot on the tenth today to move five shots off the lead.
Stenson was one of the first to return to the clubhouse after signing for a seven under 65, which propelled him into pole position.
A series of long, straight drives frequently left the Swede with birdie opportunities and he picked up five shots within the space of seven holes to move ahead of the chasing pack.
He went one better at the par five eighth as another booming drive was followed by a magnificent approach to the island green in which Stenson punched the ball within six feet to set up an eagle.
“I played really nicely yesterday and then when I came out I didn’t feel great on the range this morning and the first few holes were so-so,” he said.
“I had a couple of in-between chances on a few of the holes there and some great fireworks on the eighth, two great shots.
“I’ve hit probably more drives in the past two days than I have probably all season.
“The way I played I’ve had plenty of chances and I could have been three or four shots better. But that’s the same with everyone and I’m not going to be complaining about 13 under.”
Stenson ended with a five shot advantage over the rest but that was soon reduced to four as fellow Swede Magnus Carlsson finished birdie-birdie to move into second place after a round of 67.
Overnight leader Merrick Bremner double bogeyed the 13th but the South African fought back to level par for the day, joining Kofstad and Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman five strokes back from Stenson.