Scott Jamieson kept the Saltire flying high on the Tshwane Open leaderboard in Pretoria as the Glaswegian stepped up his bid for a second European Tour triumph on South African soil. The 33-year-old, who started the second round two off the lead, moved into a share of top spot at halfway with Swede Alexander Bjork after carding a six-under 65.
It was Jamieson’s best round of the season and his lowest effort since posting the same score in the second round of the British Masters at The Grove last October. “I was very solid again from tee to green, like yesterday, and I’m delighted with that,” said the Scot, whose sole European Tour success so far came in the 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship. “I struggled a bit tee to green last week, but it seems to have clicked this week and hopefully I can hole a few more putts over the weekend.”
Jamieson, who has finished 106th and 107th in the Race to Dubai over the last two seasons, is determined to avoid a third successive close card shave. He’s made a promising start to the current campaign, making the cut in four out of five events, and was in impressive form as he moved to 10-under-par at the halfway stage this week.
“I hit 16 greens in regulation yesterday and it was probably something similar today. Hopefully I can keep that up,” he added. “If you hit 16 greens, you are bound to have a couple of birdies in there but I hit a couple of really nice shots as well and hopefully I can keep doing that.
“The rough out there is pretty extreme but there’s not a great deal of drivers (off the tee) which is probably suiting me right now because I struggled last week with my driver. That’s kind of been taken out of my hands a little bit.”
Jamieson and Bjork, who backed up an opening 65 with an equally impressive 67, lead by a shot from Englishman James Morrison (66), with a four-strong group on eight-under including Thomas Aiken, who stormed through the field with a second-round 62 that contained 10 birdies.
In contrast, local hero George Coetzee had a day to forget, missing the cut after he crashed to an error-strewn 76, the same score Scott Henry signed for as he also made an early exit despite starting the day alongside Jamieson on four-under.
One off the lead after an opening 65, Duncan Stewart’s second circuit was more of a struggle, though he finished with a birdie for a level-par 72. On four-under, he’s sitting joint-18th alongside both Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay as they signed for matching 70s. Ramsay’s effort was a mixed bag, containing six birdies but also a double-bogey and three bogeys, while it was a similar up and down day for Warren, who an eagle and three birdies mixed in with four dropped shots.
Aiken had an outside chance of recording the first 59 on the European Tour when he played his opening 15 holes in nine under par, but he was unable birdie the last three to break the magical 60 barrier. “You don’t get too many opportunities in your career to shoot one (a 59),” he said. “I did my best to try to make a few birdies when I had the opportunity coming in and it just didn’t happen.”