Date: January 10, 2009

Drysdale up by one

David Drysdale followed up his opening-day 65 by carding a six-under round of 66 to lead a rain-affected Joburg Open by one stroke at the halfway stage. The Scotsman has been incredibly consistent through his first two days at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club with not a single dropped shot on his card, and his score of 131 kept him a stroke ahead of South African Oliver Bekker and Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland. Andrew McLardy, another home favourite, also managed to stay among the chasing pack with his three-under 68 moving him to nine under overall, alongside Englishman Danny Willett, who carded a 66, while Richard McEvoy, Tyrone van Aswegen and Rafael Cabrera Bello are on eight-under 134. But it was Drysdale who impressed most, carding four of his five birdies on the front nine of the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event to go with his birdie-eagle finish on Thursday. The 33-year-old said: “I&aposm very pleased, especially after playing well yesterday with a good eagle finish, which was nice, and just kept it going today, so overall very happy.” “I played well all day (yesterday) and had good chances on the front nine and then chipped in with an eagle at the end on the back nine, it was just a little bit of justice really I think to finish. But so far, so good.” Hoey, who began the competition with a 64 after missing the cut last year, was one of the players affected by a near two-hour rain delay during the early afternoon – but he was more than happy to wait. “It was just perfect at the end there,” reflected the Ballymoney-born golfer. “There was no wind, which was probably an advantage because it was quite hot earlier on. The weather was perfect.” After his 65, Bekker added: “I didn&apost have a good finish at the end of last year, so I&aposm just trying to manage myself better on the golf course by cutting out the bogeys, maybe not playing as aggressively and try a little more conservative shots and playing within myself.” Joint-overnight leaders Steven Jeppesen and Trevor Fisher Jnr had a difficult time today, with the former coming home with a five-over 65 – three under overall – and the latter completely falling apart with an eight-over round of 79 on his way to missing the cut. Defending champion Richard Sterne, who is bidding for a third consecutive European Tour title, bounced back from his opening-day 71 with a fine round of 66 – five under overall. He said: “I got off to a slow start this morning, but then birdied five and six, which put me in a better frame of mind. I knew I just had to stay patient because there are a lot of birdies out there.” “Anytime that you&aposre within seven or eight on the weekend, you&aposre in with a chance.” Two-time major winner Retief Goosen shot a 68 to move to four under for the championship, while three birdies in his last four holes helped Chris Wood finish a further stroke back at three under and just make the cut. Second Round of the Joburg Open -11: David Drysdale 65 66 -10: Oliver Bekker 67 65, Michael Hoey 64 68 -9: Andrew McLardy 65 68, Danny Willett 67 66 -8: Rafael Cabrera Bello 65 69, Richard McEvoy 69 65, Tyrone Van Aswegen 69 65 -7: Charl Coetzee 68 67, Carlos Del Moral 69 66, Jan Larsen 66 69, James Morrison 67 68 -6: Annti Ahokas 72 64, Wallie Coetsee 72 64, Alfredo Garcia-Heredia 65 71, Raphael Jacquelin 71 65, Alan McLean 71 65, Edoardo Molinari 65 71, Anthony Snobeck 72 64, Bernd Wiesberger 72 64