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Donaldson and Bezuidenhout share halfway lead in Sun City

Donaldson and Bezuidenhout share halfway lead in Sun City

Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson posted the lowest round of the tournament so far to sit alongside last week's winner Christiaan Bezuidenhout at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the 2020 South African Open.


The Welshman closed his second round with back to back gains at Gary Player Country Club to sign for a sensational 63 which contained a total of ten birdies and a solitary bogey.

The 45-year-old was joined on ten under par by in-form South African Bezuidenhout, who remains on course to become the first player since Justin Rose in 2017 to win European Tour events in consecutive weeks after producing a flawless 67 on Friday.

Bezuidenhout, fresh from his magnificent four shot victory at the Alfred Dunhill Championship five days ago, had the chance to lead on his own after setting up a close range birdie putt on the 18th green but he was unable to convert it and had to settle for a share of the lead.

The leading duo head into the weekend with a two shot advantage over their nearest challengers - home favourites Dylan Frittelli and Dean Burmester on eight under.

Donaldson began the day four shots behind the first round co-leaders but set about closing the gap with birdies on the first and third.

A bogey came along at the fourth but he recovered in style, notching two successive gains at the fifth and sixth before curling in his 18 foot birdie putt at the ninth to get to five under.


The three time European Tour winner began the back nine with another birdie - this time from around five feet - and took advantage of the par three 13th shortly after, sending his approach to five feet and tapping in to get within a shot of the summit.

Donaldson's fantastic day with the putter continued on the 15th as he rolled in from eight feet to grab a share of the lead before saving par at the next.

He then made one of the birdies of the day at the 17th. After launching his tee shot close to the cart path, Donaldson could not see the green as he stepped up to play his approach shot.

But he went for it anyway and sent his ball to around 18 feet before draining the slow putt to move to nine under.

Donaldson then came agonisingly close to holing his chip shot for an eagle at the last but had to settle for a close range birdie and a superb 63.

He said: "It was great. It's funny, I couldn't quite get going yesterday - one under was a good score. I didn't hit it very well and then hit some balls afterwards yesterday and found it today.

"I hit a lot of good shots in play and iron shots were very good, close to the flags, and managed to putt really well today. So all in all a very good day.

"I've always liked these greens here, I've putted well and played well here before so it's easier to see the lines. You've still got to hit a good putt on the line you want it to go on obviously.

"But the greens are very good and I holed some nice ones out there."


Bezuidenhout has enjoyed enormous success on home soil so far this year, winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am - co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour - in February before clinching his second European Tour title at Leopard Creek Country Club last time out.

He came into the day in a six way tie for the lead on five under and produced a good up-and-down from the sand for a par at the third before making his first birdie of the day from 30 feet on the fourth.

The home favourite got another birdie from six feet at the sixth before chipping in from just off the green on the ninth to jump to eight under.

After picking up a shot at the 12th, Bezuidenhout continued to give himself good birdie chances but could not take another until the 17th, where he tapped in from three feet.

He looked certain to close his round with another birdie on the par five last after spinning his third shot to two feet.

But he missed the close range putt to join Donaldson in the clubhouse on ten under.

"It was solid," he said. "I think to sum up today it was controlled and solid.

"We worked on a great game plan at the start of the week. Course management around this course is really, really important. 

"You can make some big numbers here if you try to attack it - it's not a golf course that you can attack.

"So we just kept it in play really nicely, stuck to our processes and I'm happy to be tied for the lead going into the weekend."

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