Ross McGowan fires 62 to take three-shot lead at Joburg Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 16/01/16 3:08pm
Ross McGowan opened up a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Joburg Open after a superb second-round 62 that featured two eagles in four holes.
The Englishman was already four under for the day on the West Course at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club when he holed a pinpoint wedge for an unlikely eagle-two at the 12th.
McGowan made his sixth birdie of the round at 14, and he then laced his second to within 20 feet at the long 15th and rolled in the eagle putt to move to 14 under par.
The 33-year-old parred in to stay five clear of the chasing pack, and his clubhouse target was never seriously threatened by the later starters.
"I played well yesterday and started well today, opening up with two birdies," said the 2009 Madrid Masters champion, who regained his full European Tour card at the Qualifying School in November after four years on the minor tours.
"It went a bit flat for a few holes, then on the back nine the fireworks started. I holed a wedge on 12, which was nice, and hit two great shots into the par five and had 15 or 20 feet for eagle - and holed that as well."
McGowan's compatriot Anthony Wall moved into a share of second on 11 under after a superb finish to his second round on the East Course, rolling in birdie putts at 15 and 16 and another for eagle at the last to cap a 67.
Wales pro Stuart Manley also carded a 67 on the East to sit one shot behind Wall, Felipe Aguilar, Haydn Porteous and Jean Hugo, while Walker Cup star Paul Dunne stormed to nine under.
The Irishman, who shared the lead heading into the final round of The Open at St Andrews last July, blitzed the West Course for eight birdies and kept a bogey off his card in an excellent 63.
England's Richard Bland picked up four shots in five holes as he returned back-to-back 67s, but four-time major winner Ernie Els is 11 shots off the pace after narrowly surviving the cut.
Els dropped to two under after a bogey at the 16th on the East, but he managed to birdie the par-five last to salvage a second straight 70 and avoid a weekend off.