Fisher takes sole charge

Trevor Fisher Jr matched his opening-day 66 to take a one-shot lead at the halfway mark of the Africa Open.

Trevor Fisher Jr held the lead at the halfway stage of the Africa Open after matching his opening-day effort with another 66 in East London to head into the weekend on 14-under-par.
The South African, who was one of five players to share top spot after the opening round at the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event, was in command from the start of the day after beginning with an eagle and a birdie on his first two holes.
His closest challenge came from fellow overnight leader Patrik Sjoland as the Swede mixed an impressive eight birdies and an eagle with one double bogey and two bogeys, while another home favourite, Thomas Aiken, dropped no shots on his way to a 67, to sit 12 under overall.
Keith Horne, on the same score as his fellow countryman, was the highest-placed player amongst the afternoon starters, one shot ahead of a trio of players on 10 under, including Deane Pappas, Vaughan Bradford and Englishman Justin Walters.
But leader Fisher Jr was the man in control and he said afterwards that he was pleased to be giving himself a chance heading into the weekend.
“With two rounds to go, I’ve obviously put myself in position which is nice,” he said. “I just want to give myself a chance – that’s all.
“At the end of the day if I can walk away and say ‘I’ve given myself a chance’, then I’ll be happy whatever the result is.”
The 30-year-old South African, who picked up five birdies in total as well as a second eagle on the par-five 11th – along with two bogeys – also felt the start was key to his round.
He added: “I started off so well, even though I was a little tight this morning, didn’t sleep too well last night and almost didn’t wake up.
“I didn’t expect much and started off eagle and I sank a massive putt on the second hole (for birdie) and I just got it going nicely.
“I got a little bit tight on the back nine, but I held it together. I think I let one or two shots slip, but I’m happy overall.”
Pre-tournament favourites Charl Schwartzel, James Kingston and Richard Sterne, the highest ranked players in the field at 66, 83 and 94 respectively, were well placed for a weekend charge after rounds of 70, 69 and 71 to move into a tie for eighth on nine under.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke finished two shots further back on seven under after following up his 69 on Thursday with a 70 on Friday, but England’s Nick Dougherty missed the cut after ending his two rounds three over par.