Domaine de Bel Ombre, Mauritius (SportsNetwork.com) - Thorbjorn Olesen posted a 3-under 68 on Friday and moved one stroke clear of the field after two rounds of the inaugural Mauritius Open.
Olesen, one of three first-round co-leaders, finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 133. He had missed the cut in his last three starts and is coming off a three- month break due to a hand surgery.
"I didn't have the biggest expectations this week, but I knew I was swinging the club well and I've been practicing hard the last couple of weeks," Olesen said. "I was obviously hoping for something good, but I've been surprised at how good my short game has been this week."
Pelle Edberg fired a 5-under 66 to climb into second place at minus-8. Thomas Aiken also shot 66 on Friday to end two rounds at 7-under-par 135.
Aiken was joined in third place by Matthew Fitzpatrick (67) and Dean Burmester (68). George Coetzee, the highest ranked player in the field at world No. 63, posted a 4-under 67 to move into a tie for sixth. Coetzee is one of eight players tied at 5-under-par 137.
Jeunghun Wang and Carlos Pigem, who both shared the first-round lead with Olesen, stumbled to 1-over 72s. They stand alongside Coetzee at minus-5.
Olesen got off to a rough start as he bogeyed the first and third to slip to minus-4. He quickly atoned for those mistake with birdies at the fourth and fifth.
The two-time European Tour winner followed a birdie at the seventh with a 20- foot birdie putt on the eighth, then made it three in a row as he dropped in a 12-footer for birdie on No. 9.
Olesen stumbled to another bogey at the 13th to slip to minus-8. He dropped his approach eight feet from the hole at the 16th and converted that birdie try to get back to 9-under and parred the final two holes to lead by one.
"On the front nine, it was quite tricky, but I kept it going out there and finished strongly with birdies on seven, eight and nine and then tried to keep fighting," said Olesen. "I'm enjoying being out there and I holed some nice putts. All in all, it was a good day and I'm happy with 3-under."
Edberg birdied the second, then ran off four pars in a row from the third. He jumped to minus-6 thanks to an eagle on the par-5 seventh.
The Swede faltered to the lone bogey of his round at the 10th, then got that stroke back as he birdied the 14th for the second day in a row.
Edberg made it two in a row as he also birdied the 15th. He closed his round with a birdie at the 18th to end one back.
"It's not a bad start. I've played pretty solid and pretty nice both days. I've taken advantage of the par-5s and the drivable par-4s," Edberg said. "I've been up there on pretty much every hole, putting for eagle, and those holes are the key this week."
NOTES: This is the third time Olesen has had the 36-hole lead on the European Tour. The other two times were in the 2012 season ... Javier Colomo had a hole-in-one on the drivable par-4 ninth to make the cut by two strokes ... The cut line fell at 1-over-par 143 with 74 players advancing to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were Shiv Kapur, Soren Hansen, Thomas Bjorn, Nick Dougherty and Johan Edfors.