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Golf | SA

Adrien Saddier © Getty Images

Saddier sizzles to share SA Open lead

Adrien Saddier of France fired a course record nine-under-par 63 Friday to share the halfway lead in the South African Open near Johannesburg with Chris Paisley of England.

Saddier and Paisley, both ranked outside the top 250 in the world, are on 131, four strokes ahead of South African Jacques Kruyswijk at Glendower Golf Club.

Among four players lying one shot further back were the first round leaders, Branden Grace of South Africa and Chase Koepka of the United States.

Saddier, a 25-year-old whose only professional success came in the second-tier European Challenge circuit two years ago, scored an eagle and seven birdies to roar into contention.

Three strokes off the lead after the first round, he completed the front nine with a birdie-eagle-birdie burst after also birdieing the second.

After another birdie at 13, the Frenchman claimed three in a row from 15 to record the lowest score this week in the first European Tour event of the year.

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Saddier joined Paisley at the top of the leaderboard after the Englishman earlier followed up a first-round 66 with a near flawless 65 in cool, cloudy conditions.

Paisley dropped a shot at 13 after finding water, but more than compensated for that slip with eight birdies, six of which came in the second nine.

In a field containing five former Major winners, Saddier and Paisley will be thrilled to lead the pack in the second oldest national golf championship after the British Open.

Nearest challenger Kruyswijk, 25, another young golfer eyeing a first European Tour triumph, carded a 67 following a mixed round.

After four front-nine birdies, he picked up three more during the inward trek but also bogeyed a couple of holes.

South African Retief Goosen, one of the former Major winners, was seven under for the day as he teed off on 18, only to suffer a double bogey six that left him five strokes off the pace.

Grace, seeking back-to-back European Tour triumphs in South Africa, also came a cropper at the final hole, dropping a shot to post a 71.

Koepka, a brother of reigning US Open champion Brooks, also had to settle for a 71 over the 6 942-metre/7 594-yard layout 12 kilometres east of central Johannesburg.

Major title-holders Charl Schwartzel (139) and Ernie Els (141) of South Africa are sure to make the cut for the final two rounds.

But former US Masters champions Mike Weir (146) of Canada and Trevor Immelman (149) of South Africa bowed out after the second round.


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