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Golf: Leader Coetzee mocks lowly ranking with a 65

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South African Charl Coetzee made a mockery of his world ranking of 972 Friday by firing a 65 to take a one-shot lead after an incomplete, weather-affected second round of the Tshwane Open.

Coetzee was an early starter in perfect conditions and picked up three birdies on the front nine and four on the second at the par-72, 7,791-yard (7,124-metre) Copperlead Golf and Country Estate.

His 132 total in the European Tour-Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event, after an opening round 67, gave him a one-stroke lead over Chilean Mark Tullo, whose 66 included six birdies.

Young American Peter Uihlein is a shot further behind on 134 after also carding a six-birdie 66 and English trio Richard Finch (66), David Howell (69) and Danny Willett (68) were on 136 and four shots behind the leader.

Overnight leader Darren Fichardt of South Africa was one under after 16 holes in his second round and eight under for the tournament when storm clouds forced play to be abandoned for the day with a 6.45 a.m. local time resumption set for Saturday.

"I have not had this much fun in a lot time," said Coetzee. "It is always nice to play well and it goes both ways -- the better you play the more you enjoy it.

"I hit the ball nicely, found a lot of fairways, made a lot of greens in regulation, and dropped a lot of putts. Those were the keys to my successful round.

"I feel like I have been playing better during the last few weeks," said the leader, who is chasing a 237,750-euro ($310,690) first prize in the last of six 2013 European Tour events hosted by South Africa.

The three Major champions in the 156-strong field suffered mixed fortunes, with 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland slipping to a 73 and a halfway total of 142.

Michael Campbell of New Zealand, the 2005 British Open champion, was three over for his round and for the tournament after 31 holes when play was suspended.

Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, the 1994 and 1999 US Masters title-holder, was also three over for the tournament with two holes of his second round to go.

Simon Dyson of England, a six-time European Tour winner and among the Tshwane Open title favourites, restored some pride after a nightmare opening 77 to be three under after 16 holes in his second round.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130301/golf-leader-coetzee-mocks-lowly-ranking-65