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Golf: Coetzee retains Tshwane Open lead

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South African Charl Coetzee stayed on top of the Tshwane Open leaderboard Saturday when the storm-interrupted second round was completed.

Rounds of 67 and 65 gave the golfer ranked 972 in the world a 12-under-par halfway total of 132 over the 7,791-yard (7,124-metre) Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate southwest of here.

Coetzee was among those who completed their second round Friday before a mid-afternoon thunderstorm forced play to be abandoned two hours ahead of schedule, and it resumed at 0645 local time (0445GMT) Saturday.

He is one stroke ahead of Chilean Mark Tullo (67-66) and South African Dawie van der Walt (68-65) in the sixth and final European Tour-Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event staged in the republic this season.

American Peter Uihlein (68-66) is alone in fourth place on 134 and first round leader Darren Fichardt (65-71) of South Africa is among a group of 10 four strokes off the lead.

Coetzee is trying to emulate compatriots Richard Sterne and Fichardt, who won the Joburg Open and Africa Open tournaments respectively last month, as South Africa hosts a record number of European Tour events.

Former Major champions Darren Clarke (69-73) of Northern Ireland and Jose Maria Olazabal (76-66) of Spain finished on 142 -- the cut-off score to play in the final two rounds later Saturday and Sunday.

Olazabal, who skippered Europe to a dramatic Ryder Cup triumph over the United States in Medinah last year, seemed doomed to an early return home after his four-over round Thursday.

But the 47-year-old, who won the 1994 and 1999 US Masters titles, followed up four front-nine birdies with a further three over the last four holes to survive the halfway chop.

Former US Open champion Michael Campbell (72-75) of New Zealand failed to make the cut with his three-over second trip round a course designed by South African golf legend Ernie Els including a double bogey and three bogeys.

Others who will miss the final rounds include Italian Edoardo Molinari (72-71), Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal (72-71), Indian Jeev Milkha Singh (67-76) and South African Thomas Aiken (75-70).

Jaco van Zyl of South Africa, the 14/1 pre-tournament favourite for the 237,750-euro ($310,690) first prize, retired after a first round 75, as did six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson (77) of England.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130302/golf-coetzee-retains-tshwane-open-lead