Date: December 15, 2007

Engaged Norman surges at Open

James Kingston moved to the top of the leaderboard at the South African Airways Open on Friday to head the field by one stroke after a three-under round of 69 as Greg Norman showed he was also in the hunt through an impressive sub-par round. South Africa&aposs Kingston, though, was one of just three players to end the day under par after high winds again took its toll on most of the field. Kingston, currently 18th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, delivered a fine round that included an eagle on the par-five third, which set him on his way as he moved to two-under par for the tournament, one ahead of Andrew McLardy and Kyron Sullivan. Zimbabwean-born McLardy shot a 71 to go with his opening round 72, while Wales&apos Sullivan mirrored McLardy&aposs scores to remain in the hunt. “The wind was really strong,” Kingston said. “You could see when you put the ball down, it was oscillating and it&aposs not just that. You always got the wind, especially when it&aposs from behind, pushing you and you spending so much energy to try and stand still.” “Especially on those delicate shots, it&aposs so tough to make a decent stroke.” “But in saying that, I played really solid today. It was really a good outing for the conditions.” It was another tough day for the big names in the field, with only former world number one Norman and defending champion Ernie Els shooting below par rounds. The Australian came home in two under to move to one over for the championship, while world number five Els shot the same score moving to three over for the championship. Norman, 52, was especially impressive, taking into account that it was only his first tournament since the Dubai Desert Classic in March this year. However, his form could be attributed to something besides golf as it was revealed that he and Wimbledon legend Chris Evert – at the event for the official launch of a Chris Evert Tennis Centre on the Pearl Valley Golf Estates – were engaged. “Well yeah, this is an engagement ring and we were engaged four days ago,” Evert said, when asked about the ring she was wearing at the press conference. “It was Sunday night while we were coming over here.” Speaking about his round, Norman said: “The golf course yesterday played more difficult than it was today. They made a few adjustments to the tee positions today that from my perspective were a little bit awkward because we had moved out 30-40 yards in different angles on different tee shots.” “I hadn&apost played here before so I didn&apost have any idea on some of them. All in all the conditions make you have to really have to bear down if you don&apost concentrate hard enough you going to shoot a high number out here – it&aposs as simple as that.” The best round of the day belonged to Dutchman Joost Luiten, who carded a five-under par round of 67, seven shots off the lead. The imposing south-easterly wind did manage to send several big names tumbling with European Tour Order of Merit leader Ross Fisher, last week&aposs Alfred Dunhill Championship winner John Bickerton and rising Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy all missing the cut. However, reigning US Open champion Angel Cabrera narrowly survived as his nine-over par for the competition saw him narrowly make the cut – which was also nine-over.