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Storm leads suspended Open as McIlroy suffers setback

It was probably appropriate that England’s Graeme Storm held the second-round lead on Friday as play was suspended because of the threat of lightning in the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, but there were other things on fans’ minds.

There was the charge up the leaderboard of South African duo Trevor Fisher Jnr, there was the hole-in-one by Jaco van Zyl which saw him win a R2-million BMW i8, there was breath being held to see if player-host Ernie Els would make the cut, and there was the spectacular charge by world number two Rory McIlroy.

The fans have come out in their thousands to watch the Northern Irishman, and he delivered a breath-taking display between the eighth and the 15th holes, making six birdies and an eagle as he muscled his way towards the head of the field. That stretch saw him make eight consecutive one-putts, and he seemed destined to go into the weekend in the lead.

But a pair of bogeys on 17 and 18 saw him drop to nine-under for the tournament, three off the pace.

And as much as that was disappointing, the fans will be holding their collective breaths overnight as McIlroy gets a tweak to his back seen to. ‘I actually thought about pulling out before even teeing off today,’ he said.

‘I tweaked my back somehow and the first few shots today weren’t very comfortable and it still isn’t really comfortable. I can’t really take a deep breath because I’ve done something to my upper back. I’m going to go get some treatment now. Considering that, I played well, stuck at it and hopefully I can feel better tomorrow.

‘I don’t want to withdraw, it would let a lot of people down so that’s why I kept going today. As I said, I’m going to get some physio now and hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.’

Van Zyl aced the long 204-metre par-three on his way to a brilliant seven-under-par 65, a round which vaulted him up the leaderboard. He reached halfway at eight-under, four off the pace set by England’s Graeme Storm.

That ‘perfect fluke’, as it is somewhat disrespectfully known, saw him win a R2-million BMW i8 – a welcome change of fortunes for a man who has made 16 aces in his tournament career, the last of which came in the Rio Olympic Games last year.

‘That’s the first time I’ve ever won anything for a hole-in-one,’ he said, ‘and even when I made it, I wasn’t sure whether the car was only up for grabs in the final round, or just over the weekend. It wasn’t until I got onto the green that I was told I’d got the car.’

Kruger had a round of great putting to tank for ending up on 10-under, two back: ‘I just made the putts. I think I made 24 putts but I only hit four fairways so it was amazing,’ he said.

‘I like it when the greens are a bit faster so you don’t really have to hit them. You can literally just have sight of the line going in.’

Fisher also putted well, but he felt he needed to do better with other parts of his game.

‘I just don’t think I found enough fairways today which is not good,’ he said. ‘So, I managed to scramble a bit today and hopefully over the weekend I can just find more fairways and give myself more chances.’

Play resumed at 7.15am on Saturday, and the cut will be made once the second round is complete.

Latest scores:
-12 – Graeme Storm 69 63
-10 – Peter Uihlein 70 64, Jbe’ Kruger 67 67, Trevor Fisher Jnr 66 68
-9 – Laurie Canter 69 66, Jordan L Smith 67 68, Keith Horne 66 69, Rory McIlroy 67 68, David Drysdale 70 65
-8 – Jaco Van Zyl 71 65
-7 – Oliver Fisher 68 69, Brett Rumford 69 68, Thomas Aiken 67 70, Dean Burmester 67 70
-6 – Shaun Norris 69 69, James Kamte 70 68, Dawie Van der Walt 71 67, Mark Foster 68 (-2) [15], Romain Langasque 70 (-4) [14]
-5 – Pontus Widegren 72 67, Alexander Bjork 68 71, Jeff Winther 69 70, Joel Stalter 69 70, Richard S Johnson 69 (-2) [15], Mikko Korhonen 72 (-5) [14]
-4 – Justin Harding 70 70, Darren Fichardt 68 72, Adrian Otaegui 71 69, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 70 70, Simon Dyson 69 71, Chris Hanson 71 (-3) [15], Ulrich van den Berg 69 (-1) [14], Jens Fahrbring 68 (Par) [13], Paul Maddy 71 (-3) [12]
-3 – Edoardo Molinari 71 70, Justin Walters 69 72, John Parry 74 67, Gary King 73 68, Louis de Jager 77 64, Steven Tiley 69 72, Michael Hollick 70 71, Brandon Stone 74 67, Paul Waring 70 (-1) [15], Daniel Brooks 69 (Par) [14]
-2 – James Morrison 70 72, Garth Mulroy 71 71, Jonathan Agren 73 69, Jacques Kruyswijk 73 69, Ockie Strydom 72 70, Rourke van der Spuy 72 70, Jacques Blaauw 72 (-2) [17], Jean Hugo 70 (Par) [15], Espen Kofstad 73 (-3) [14]
-1 – Andrew Georgiou 72 71, James Kingston 72 71, Lucas Bjerregaard 72 71, Thomas Detry 72 71, Stefan Engell Andersen 72 71, Morten Orum Madsen 75 68, Rafa Echenique 73 70, Tom Lewis 72 (-1) [17], Niclas Fasth 70 (+1) [17], Ross McGowan 72 (-1) [17], Titch Moore 70 (+1) [17], Adilson Da Silva 73 (-2) [16], Alexander Knappe 71
(Par) [15], Danie van Tonder 73 (-2) [14]

Projected cut:-
Par – Kyle McClatchie 71 73, Marco Steyn 74 70, Matthieu Pavon 73 71, Christiaan Basson 73 71, Ernie Els 74 70, Tjaart van der Walt 72 72, Jamie Donaldson 73 71, Haydn Porteous 72 72, Pep Angles 72 (Par) [14]
+1 – Sebastian Heisele 74 71, Sir Nick Faldo 70 75, Hennie Otto 75 70, Peter Karmis 72 73, Matthew Nixon 75 70, Tyrone Ferreira 73 72, Damien Perrier 72 73, Merrick Bremner 75 70, Dylan Frittelli 71 74, Scott Henry 79 (-6) [16], Erik van Rooyen 72 (+1) [16], Ruan de Smidt 72 (+1) [15], Sebastian Soderberg 69 (+4) [12]
+2 – Zander Lombard 76 70, Ricardo Gonzalez 73 73, Bernd Ritthammer 71 75, Lindani Ndwandwe 75 71, Andrew McLardy 74 72, Hennie du Plessis 73 73, Jamie Rutherford 73 73, George Coetzee 70 76, CJ du Plessis 72 (+2) [14], Marcus Armitage 74 (Par) [13], Colin Nel 69 (+5) [12]
+3 – Makhetha Mazibuko 76 71, Jaco Ahlers 72 75, Madalitso Muthiya 73 74, Jovan Rebula 73 74, David Horsey 77 70, Chris Swanepoel 73 74, Niclas Johansson 74 (+1) [16], Max Orrin 75 (Par) [15], Neil Schietekat 70 (+5) [13], Heinrich Bruiners 74 (+1) [12]
+4 – Richard Bland 72 76, Christofer Blomstrand 79 69, Marcel Siem 72 76, Doug McGuigan 74 74, Toby Tree 79 69, Daniel Greene 75 73, Philip Geerts 75 73, Steven Ferreira 73 75, Andy Sullivan 78 70, Lyle Rowe 74 (+2) [17], Darren Clarke 70 (+6) [17], Alex Haindl 76 (Par) [14]
+5 – Eddie Pepperell 76 73, Andrew Curlewis 77 72, Jean-Paul Strydom 75 74, Oliver Bekker 76 73, JC Ritchie 78 71, Scott Vincent 76 (+1) [12]
+6 – Sipho Bujela 81 69, Johan van der Wath 74 76, Bryce Easton 74 76, Anthony Michael 74 76, Juran Dreyer 81 69, Anton Karlsson 75 75, Craig Ross 79 71, Lee Slattery 78 (Par) [17], Trevor Dodds 77 (+1) [16], Vaughn Groenewald 73 (+5) [15], Nathan Kimsey 75 (+3) [14]
+7 – Sam Walker 76 75, Retief Goosen 80 71, Ashley Chesters 75 76, Theunis Bezuidenhout 74 77, Callum Mowat 78 73, Matthew Southgate 78 73
+8 – Nino Bertasio 79 73, Carlos Pigem 75 (+5) [16]
+9 – Charlie Bolling 77 76, Rhys West 80 73, Chris Paisley 79 (+2) [17], Darin de Smidt 75 (+6) [12]
+10 – Marc Cayeux 75 79, Derick Petersen 74 80
+11 – Dylan Naidoo 77 78, Joubert van Eeden 78 (+5) [14]
+12 – Duncan Stewart 78 (+6) [14]


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