Charl Schwartzel fires day's best 64 to get within two of the lead at Tshwane Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 13/02/16 5:37pm
Charl Schwartzel gave his home fans plenty to cheer on the second day of the Tshwane Open as a flawless 64 swept him to within two shots of the lead at the halfway stage.
Schwartzel had his work cut out just to make the cut after a disappointing one-over 71 on the first day at Pretoria Country Club, but he produced what was comfortably the low round on Friday as only 21 players were under the card after 36 holes.
The 2011 Masters champion made a confident start with a birdie at the first, and he broke a run of seven pars with a solid four at the long ninth to reach the turn in 33.
Schwartzel then knocked a sublime second to 20 feet at the 621-yard 12th and rolled in the putt for eagle, and a pinpoint approach to the next green left him with a tap-in for his third birdie of the day.
The world No 43 got to five under with a chip-in for birdie at the 15th and parred safely in, completing the 18th following a delay of over an hour-and-a-half due the the threat of lightning.
"I'm very, very pleased with the way I hit the golf ball today," Schwartzel told the European Tour. "It was a massive improvement to a few months ago. I hit it beautifully today, had so many chances and the course is playing really difficult. It wasn't easy.
"I didn't putt very well today, but I hit the ball beautifully. The greens are very difficult to read, and I didn't hit a lot of bad putts but it's frustrating when you miss six-footers and still shoot 64."
Schwartzel heads into the weekend trailing outright leader Anthony Michael, who offset four birdies with three bogeys as he added a battling 69 to his opening 71.
Joburg Open winner Haydn Porteous cruised home in 32 to card a 66 which earned him a share of third place on four under par alongside compatriot Theunis Spangenberg and American Daniel Im.
Overnight leader Justin Harding, who fired a superb 63 on Thursday, found the going tougher on the second day despite bouncing back from two opening bogeys with a hole-in-one at the 141-yard 14th.
But he carded four further bogeys and ran-up an ugly double-bogey six at the fourth as he struggled to a 75 which left him five shots off the pace on two under, while defending champion George Coetzee slipped to level par after an erratic 72.