East London, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Ford fired a 6-under 66 in Friday's second round and the Englishman took the outright lead heading into the weekend at the Africa Open.
Ford, who was the co-leader alongside Kevin Phelan at the end of the first round, finished 36 holes at 11-under-par 133, one shot ahead of Eduardo de la Riva.
Having earned his European Tour card through the European Q School last year, Ford is seeking his first career victory.
De la Riva also carded a 66 on Friday, vaulting him into sole possession of second place at 10-under 134. Jaco Van Zyl (66), Erik Van Rooyen (66) and Gregory Havret (67) are all three shots back and tied for third at 8-under 136.
After shooting a 5-under 67 on Thursday to grab a share of the first-round lead, Phelan shot an even-par 72 Friday. He is tied for 14th at 5-under 139.
Following a bogey-free first round, Ford continued his hot streak on day two with no bogeys through his first eight holes.
Ford started off by pouring in back-to-back birdies at two and three, getting him into red numbers early on. After making a pair of pars on four and five, Ford made two consecutive birdies again on six and seven.
After a par on eight, Ford dropped his first shot of the week with a bogey on the par-4 ninth. Ford had an answer, however, as he made the turn and poured in another gain on the par-3 10th.
Ford extended his lead to three at the time when he eagled the par-4, 428-yard 12th hole. A trio of pars from 13 preceded Ford's sixth birdie of the day on No. 16, but he 3-putted on 17 to give that shot back. He finished up with a par at the last to claim the outright lead.
"I missed a short one on 17 and hit a poor tee shot off nine, so those were a couple of mistakes, but you're always going to make a few of those," Ford admitted. "I would have taken 11-under at the beginning of the day."
Starting on No. 9, de la Riva did not begin his round the way he wanted as he bogeyed nine and 11. Then the Spaniard got things rolling, making four birdies in a 5-hole stretch from No. 12 with a par coming on 14.
De la Riva made the turn with pars on 17 and 18 before rolling in two more gains on one and three.
Following pars on four and five, De la Riva dropped in a pair of birdies on six and seven before finishing up with a par on eight.
"I played a very good round today with good golf and good putts," de la Riva said. "I am very happy with the first two rounds."
NOTES: De la Riva, like Ford, also got his card through Q School and he is seeking his first career victory ... Maximilian Kieffer missed tying the course record by one shot with a 9-under 63. He is tied for sixth at 7-under 137 ... The course record was set by Louis Oosthuizen in 2012 and matched by Adilson Da Silva the following year ... With the cut falling at 1-under 143, 75 players advanced to play the weekend ... Andy Sullivan, who has won twice in South Africa this season at last week's Joburg Open and the South African Open Championship in January, finished at 5-over 149 and missed the cut.