Sun, Nov 18, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Swedes lead as lightning interrupts South African Open

AFP, EKURHULENI, South Africa

It was a Swedish affair at the South African Open at the 72-par Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate on Friday with Henrik Stenson leading as lightning interrupted play early.

His countryman Magnus A Carlsson finished second with an unconfirmed nine-under-par 135 and is tied with Thursday’s leader Merrick Bremner from South Africa, currently nine-under having played 32 holes.

Former world No. 4 Stenson was pleased after sinking three consecutive birdies from holes 15 to 17, having teed off on the 10th.

“I made a little bit of a trembling start. I made five pars — nothing great the first couple of holes,” he said.

Still recovering from jet lag after his airplane only arrived in South Africa on Tuesday, he nevertheless birdied two more on the first and third to be five-under after 12 holes.

“I went to bed at midnight last night, and woke up at 1:40am, so I guess the body thought it was a bit of an afternoon kip,” he laughed.

“I slept another couple of hours, so I don’t know what time of day it is, really,” he added.

The Swede has used drivers effectively, a new tactic in his play this year.

“I’ve hit some really good tee balls, and on this course, if you can fly it 280 or 290m, then you can take a lot of bunkers out of play and end up going in with a gap wedge instead of a seven-iron. It’s a huge advantage — there are probably seven or eight holes where it makes a difference,” he said.

Charl Schwartzel, last year’s Masters Champion, meanwhile still contends for the lead at the Jack Niklaus signature course in Ekurhuleni east of Johannesburg.

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