Paul Lawrie (Getty Images)
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie is the one shot leader at the halfway stage of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with his three under par 69 giving him the edge at Sun City.
The Ryder Cup winner takes the slenderest of advantages into the third day, with Martin Kaymer a shot behind.
Four players then trail on one under: Bill Haas, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, with two time defending champion Lee Westwood on level par.
One shot behind Westwood is Peter Hanson, before a real gap to the rest, with Carl Pettersson three over, Nicolas Colsaerts and Garth Mulroy four over and finally, Justin Rose, a further four shots back.
Today was a bad one for Englishman Rose, with a seven over 79, but Lawrie will at least sleep easy tonight after his 69.
He could have signed for an even better score too, with a bogey on the par four 15th hole stopping him from registering the outright best round of the day.
Kaymer also carded a 69 consisting of five birdies and two bogeys, while Westwood, looking for a third successive win at the event, was left to rue a bogey and a double bogey six at the par four 16th as he ended one over for the day.
He had little on compatriot Rose, though, whose score was heavily undermined by a triple bogey on the par four third.
Lawrie’s controlled round was all the more impressive considering the wind which ripped around the course. Save for a couple of close shaves with the putter, he could have done even better.
“I played nicely, I struggled a bit with the driver so I hit a lot of three woods off the tees. I hit my three-wood pretty far, but I also hit a lot of good shots with my irons. The greens are a little slower and I left a few putts out there,” he said.
“The wind was swirling, and it was quite difficult. It was chopping and changing - a little bit like Augusta. It is difficult to get the distance right this week, but so far we only got a couple wrong so we’ve done okay.”
In such a compact field, though, he knows he has little time to relax.
“The leaderboard is pretty damn packed, and pretty close together,” he added.
“There is still a lot of golf to play and a lot of time for guys to come back who struggled in the first two days. So far, so good for me, but there is still a long way to go.”
Kaymer has also been playing well of late, and took a share of third at the SA Open Championship a fortnight ago.
"I had a lot of good tee shots and I think once you hit fairways you can score well, my putting was good, it was not great, but it was good. I had a lot of chances, unfortunately I hit it into the water on nine and made bogey there, but three under par is a very good score on this golf course," he said.