Craig Lee nudges on to SA Open leaderboard

Craig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Craig Lee. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Craig Lee nudged himself on to the fringes of a South African-dominated leaderboard before lighting disrupted play for the second day running in the BMW SA Open in Johannesburg.

The 38-year-old Stirling-based player was in danger of missing the cut in the opening European Tour event of 2016 before covering the last seven holes of his second round at Glendower Golf Club in four-under-par.

Helped by a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth - his 15th - Lee carded a 70 for a two-under 142 halfway total to sit inside the top 20 in the clubhouse when play was suspended due to the threat of bad weather.

Lee had leapt above compatriot David Drysdale after the 40-year-old Cockburnspath man finished his uncompleted opening round by dropping a shot for a 69 then stumbled to an uncharacteristic 76.

That left him on one-over alongside Jamie McLeary, who lit up his 73 with three birdies in a row from the 11th, but both looked as though they would survive the cut on the completion of the opening 36 holes this morning.

South African Keith Horne had set the halfway target after adding a 69 to his opening 67 to sit on eight-under, but compatriot Branden Grace had joined him on that mark after 11 holes before play was halted for the day.

In Hawaii, Russell Knox opened with a two-under-par 70 to sit joint-19th as Patrick Reed, the defending champion, carded a 65 to lead Jordan Spieth by one after the first round of the PGA Tour’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Lower down the ladder, Aberdonian Clarke Lutton moved into the top 10 heading into the final round of his stage-one event in the Asian Tour Qualifying School after bagging two eagles in a three-under 68 at Imperial Lakeview in Hua Hin.

In the non-paid ranks, Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest dropped eight shots behind the new leader, American Aaron Wise, following a third-round 75 in the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne.