Published November 20, 2014
Charl Schwartzel fired an 8-under 64 on Friday to join Gregory Bourdy at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Schwartzel entered Friday one shot behind Bourdy, who managed a second-round 65. The pair now sit at 13-under 131 through 36 holes.
"All in all a very good round and I've put myself in a very good position to compete," said Schwartzel. "I was playing good golf, hitting good iron shots, hitting it to the right places and I was converting the putts."
The next closest player is Darren Fichardt, who tallied a 68 on Friday and moved into third place at 9-under 135.
Louis De Jager and Steve Webster both shot 69 at Leopard Creek Country Club. They are tied for fourth place at 8-under.
Robert Rock (68) and Maximilian Kieffer (69) are knotted in sixth at 7-under, while Tyrone Van Aswegen (68), Richard Sterne (68), Tyrone Mordt (67), Richard Finch (68), Scott Jamieson (68), Ockie Strydom (69) and Tommy Fleetwood (69) share eighth at minus-6.
Branden Grace, a four-time winner on the European Tour last year, and Garth Mulroy, who won this event the last time it was played in 2011, shot 71 and 68, respectively. They highlight a large group tied for 15th at 5- under.
Schwartzel is coming off last week's victory at the Asian Tour's Thailand Golf Championship, which marked his first win anywhere since a triumph at the 2011 Masters.
Momentum in hand, Schwartzel has yet to drop a shot this weekend.
He opened on the 10th tee on Friday and picked up a par before carding birdies on Nos. 11, 15 and 17. On the 18th, Schwartzel masterfully navigated the par-5 en route to an eagle.
Three more birdies on the back highlighted his 64, which marks the low round of the week.
"With the win, you do build up a bit of confidence, but I don't want to expect anything," Schwartzel said. "Expectation is not a good thing - I just play. It was a nice win last week, just to break the ice after winning the Masters. It's such a big thing, and everyone always talks about 'when are you going to win again?'"
Bourdy, a three-time victor on the European Tour who finished eight strokes off the pace at last week's rain-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship, wouldn't let Schwartzel pull away.
The 30-year-old recorded an eagle and five birdies against a single bogey on Friday.
The bogey came on the par-4 third, but Bourdy bounced back by rolling home a 25-foot birdie put on No. 5 and then draining a chip for eagle on the 319-yard sixth.
"My game was again solid, and I made just one bogey today, so it was a great round again," said Bourdy. "It's going to be an exciting weekend."
NOTES: Schwartzel has placed fifth, third, second and first in his previous four starts. He won by 11 strokes in Thailand last week ... Bourdy's last tour win was at the 2009 Hong Kong Open.