David Lipsky fired a 66 to take a one-shot lead on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Championship but he had four Scotsmen breathing down his neck at Leopard Creek Country Club.
The American registered four birdies and an eagle to get to eight under but Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren were just a shot back, with David Drysdale and Doug McGuigan then at six under.
Jamieson and Drysdale both came close to losing their places on the European Tour last season, while Warren lost his and had to go back to the Qualifying School, with all three men looking to bounce back in the wraparound 2019 season.
McGuigan is a veteran of the South African Sunshine Tour and the 48-year-old rolled back the years with seven birdies on the back nine as he made nine consecutive one-putts.
Starting on the tenth, Lipsky made a birdie on the 11th and an eagle on the 13th before adding further gains on the 16th, second and third.
“I played really well,” he told europeantour.com. “I actually didn’t hit it that great today but my putting and chipping was amazing. I got the job done and tied it up and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Jamieson made five birdies in six holes from the 13th in a 66, while Drysdale recorded four birdies and a bogey in a 69.
A holed bunker shot on the eighth was the highlight of Warren’s 67 and he was delighted to be playing well again after his disappointing 2018 season.
“I think I learned a lot that week [at Qualifying School],” he said. “I thought it was going to be a long week so I kind of surprised myself.
“I felt like I just played golf, purely. I just played the shots I felt I could play. I felt like I was playing golf again as opposed to playing golf swing so I’m just trying to take that approach into the new season.”
England’s Oliver Wilson and defending champion Brandon Stone were in the group at five under.
Meanwhile, Justin Rose sits six shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the Indonesian Masters after Poom Saksansin stormed out in front on day two.
Defending champion Rose ended the second day on eight under, leaving him in a share of fifth place, while Saksansin’s second-round 63 gave him a three-shot lead over nearest challengers Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Jakraphan Premsirigorn.
After bad weather forced an early end to the opening day’s play, Rose resumed his first round on five under with four holes to play.
But after cancelling out a bogey on the 16th with a birdie on the 17th, Rose dropped another shot at the par-five 18th to sign for a 68.
That indifferent form continued as he began his second round on the back nine, finding himself one over for the day after eight holes before notching a birdie at the 18th.
It proved a turning point as he made four birdies on his back nine to sign for another 68.
“For sure today it was a struggle early in my round,” he said on asiantour.com. “I was one over par through eight holes. It was a bit more windy today.
“Today was tough to make birdies, I wasn’t quite on my game. I kind of bounced back pretty well. My goal now is to play free golf at the weekend and chase the leader.”