Michael moves two clear
Anthony Michael continued his excellent start to the Alfred Dunhill Championship by moving two clear at halfway.
Rookie Anthony Michael continued his excellent start to the Alfred Dunhill Championship by moving two strokes clear at the halfway stage in Malelane.
The little-known South African carded a three-under-par 69 to follow up his 66 on day one – although his round was more up and down on Friday as it included three bogeys mixed amongst six birdies.
However, it was good enough to keep him top of the leaderboard at the Leopard Creek Country Club, where his closest challenge was coming from a trio of players in countrymen Alex Haindl and Dawie Van der Walt along with Englishman Robert Rock.
Haindl was particularly impressive storming his way around the course in a bogey-free six-under 66, a round that was set up by a set of eagles on the par-five 15th and par-five second along with two birdies.
Still, the 27-year-old from Bloemfontein, who began on the back nine on Friday, was not entirely satisfied.
He said: “I hit nice hybrids in for my eagles – on the front edge on 15 where I sank quite a nice putt, and I hit it to about seven feet on two.
“I three-putted once, and I missed quite a few six-footers. The greens are quite difficult – there’s quite a bit of grain in them. But the rest of my game’s been good,” he added.
“It’s been a much better year for me. All the work I’ve been doing with my coach John Dixon’s starting to come through.”
Norwegian Marius Thorp was all alone on six under par overall after following his 67 up with a 71, while six players were further back on five under.
Defending champion Pablo Martin was one of them after a round of 70, along with another local Keith Horne, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, Swede Oskar Henningsson and Britons Scott Jamieson and Neil Cheetham.
Overall leader and baseball-fanatic Michael, who only turned professional a year ago, admitted he was happy to have achieved his target set out at the start of play.
He said: “I went out there today just to shoot under 70. I said that if I can shoot three rounds under 70 that will be really good.
“I got off to a pretty good start and that took some of the pressure off and from there I kicked on.
“I felt comfortable out there and there was a sense of belonging for me. So all in all, I’m quite happy.”
Open champion Louis Oosthuizen continued his woeful record at the Mpumalanga course by missing the cut for a fifth year in succession.
The 28-year-old, the highest ranked player in the field with his world ranking of 24, improved in round two with a one-under 71, but his 76 on day one proved his downfall.
The other two high-profile home-favourites, Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne, did survive the weekend chop, though – the former with a second successive 72 (four under overall) and the latter ending round two with a level-par 72 (one over overall).
Rory McIlroy makes brilliant start to fog-affected Abu Dhabi Championship
McIlroy has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi with four second-place finishes.
Rory McIlroy shines in Abu Dhabi to take first-round lead following flawless 64
McIlroy has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi with four second-place finishes, three thirds and a fifth in his last nine starts, but has never won.
Justin Thomas on end of Ralph Lauren deal: ‘They moved on so that’s what I’m doing as well’
Justin Thomas said he was upset by...
My last win feels a long time ago – Rory McIlroy aiming to start year on a high
McIlroy has not tasted victory since November 2019.
Rory McIlroy insists Justin Thomas will ‘try to be better’ after homophobic slur
World number three Thomas was heard using a derogatory word towards himself after missing a par putt in Hawaii.
Rory McIlroy backs Tiger Woods to make quick recovery from latest back surgery
McIlroy expects the American to be fit for the Masters in April.
Tiger Woods focusing on return to PGA Tour after undergoing fifth back operation
The 45-year-old will miss the Farmers Insurance Open and the Genesis Invitational.
Lee Westwood resumes bid for record-equalling 11th Ryder Cup appearance
The 47-year-old occupied one of the automatic places in the team before the golf was stopped due to Covid-19.
Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew turns to Golfer’s CBD in pursuit of further success
Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew believes Golfer’s CBD could play a vital role in her future success.