Tunnicliff amongst leading trio
Englishman Miles Tunnicliff was part of a three-man group to share the lead at the halfway stage of the Africa Open.
Englishman Miles Tunnicliff was part of a three-man group to share the lead at the halfway stage of the Africa Open in East London.
The 42-year-old was on a 10 under par total of 136 alongside Branden Grace from South Africa (69) and Austrian Markus Brier, who put together the round of the day score of seven under 66.
Malaga-based Tunnicliff shot a 67 in round one and followed that up with a 69 at one million euros (£832,595) co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event.
Three players were a shot back on nine under, another Englishman Ross McGowan (69), the 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (67) and fellow countryman Jaco Van Zyl (70).
Scotland’s Elliot Saltman was all alone on eight under, while defending champion Charl Schwartzel (70), Fredrik Ohlsson (72) from Sweden and Spaniard Manuel Quiros (68) were a further shot back.
Overnight leader Brandon Pieters had a day to forget, the South African carding a woeful 77, including a quadruple bogey on the par-five first, that saw him slip down to three under.
Among the other high profile players, Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke could only manage a two over 75 to drop to two under overall.
But young Englishman Chris Wood, the top amateur at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale where he finish fifth, recorded an impressive four under 69 to climb into joint 14th on five under in total.
Retief Goosen, a two-time former major winner, was the biggest name to miss the cut, and despite improving with a level par round, he ended on two over.
At the top, though, veteran Tunnicliff enjoyed a second successive solid outing in 2011.
Today’s round saw him roll out five successive birdies before four bogeys were mixed with three more birdies over the remaining 13 holes.
Speaking afterward, he conceded the gusty conditions around the East London Golf Club made it difficult during the latter part of his round.
“The back nine was extremely tough,” he said. “It is a little more difficult and the wind was picking up and up on every hole.
“I was just trying to survive out there in the end, just trying to keep the ball in play.
“I started really well, but then with that wind things were bound to slip a little bit.
“I hit a few iffy shots around the turn and towards the end, but managed to have a nice chip in at the last which makes it very nice.”
Vienna golfer Brier began with a bogey, one of three, and then notched up eight birdies and an eagle for the joint best score of the week so far. Pieters also shot a 66 yesterday.
He added: “I think I converted all my birdie chances, I didn’t waste anything.
“The bogeys were because of three wayward drives, but accept that, everything went well.”
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