SA Open: Sam Horsfield shines again in Joburg as Louis Oosthuizen stays in hunt
English star trails Tapio Pulkkanen at halfway stage in Johannesburg, with Louis Oosthuizen staying in contention for back-to-back wins.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 10/01/20 5:13pm
Sam Horsfield heads into the weekend of the South African Open just one shot off the lead as he chases his maiden European Tour victory and a place at The 149th Open.
Horsfield added a bogey-free 68 to his opening 64 to end the second round in a five-way share of second place on 10 under par, with Tapio Pulkkanen claiming the outright lead after excellent rounds of 65 and 66, dropping only one shot over the first 36 holes.
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen is just three off the pace after a late bogey tarnished his 69 over the tougher Bushwillows Course at Randpark Golf Club, while 2015 winner Andy Sullivan is also nicely placed on eight under at the halfway stage.
Pulkkanen, winner of the European Challenge Tour Order of Merit in 2017, ended his first round with four straight birdies and carried that momentum into day two, reeling off three straight birdies from the third before doing well to save par at the sixth.
The Finn, also playing the Bushwillows layout in the second round, parred the next seven holes before getting back on the birdie trail at 14 and 15, and that proved enough to edge ahead of the chasing pack led by a confident Horsfield.
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The former protege of Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter plotted his way cautiously around the Bushwillows and parred the first 10 holes before hauling himself back into the mix with birdies at the 11th, 14th and 16th holes.
Horsfield parred home to stay at 10 under, a score later matched by young South African amateur Jayden Trey Schaper, who responded to back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine with a superb run of five birdies in a six-hole blitz from the 11th.
English duo Harry Hall (68) and Jack Senior (66) are one further behind along with overnight leader Johannes Veerman, who found the Bushwillows a tougher proposition than the Firethorn Course as he struggled to a 71 having opened with a 62.
But the leaders will be wary of a weekend charge from home favourite Oosthuizen, who cruised to three-under for the day after a solid first 15 holes before he was unable to save par at the 16th and slipped out of the top 10.
Oosthuizen is one of a dozen players on eight under along with Branden Grace, Scotland's Connor Syme and former Ryder Cup star Sullivan, whose victory in the event in 2015 was the first of three on the European Tour for the Englishman that year, but he has not lifted any silverware since.
Sullivan was one over for his second round on the Firethorn Course after 10 holes before reviving his challenge with three birdies over the next four holes, and another gain at the 17th saw him return a battling 68.
But 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, making only his second start since April following wrist surgery, was unable to repair the damage of his first-round 73 as a 67 was two blows too many to make the cut.
Another early casualty was Eddie Pepperell, who eagled the 12th and birdied 13 to get to two under for the tournament, but his hopes of avoiding a weekend off were dashed by a quadruple-bogey nine at the par-five 17th.