Sterne and Fisher Jnr take grip on Joburg Open

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SOUTH Africa’s Richard Sterne and Trevor Fisher Jnr are tied for the lead at the halfway stage of the Joburg Open, three shots clear of the chasing pack.

Sterne followed up his opening-day 63 with another blemish-free round of 65 on the east course to join early leader Fisher Jnr on 15-under-par for the tournament.

Fisher Jnr had looked set to take a comfortable lead into the third day after he shot a blistering 62 on the West Course, just one stroke outside Charl Schwartzel’s course record.

However, Sterne, who was runner-up to Stephen Gallacher in the Dubai Classic last week, continued his good run of form to stay in contention for his sixth European Tour title at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Course.

“I did the right things and putted well. It’s nice to not be behind going into the weekend,” Sterne told “It won’t be easy on the weekend. The players that are five or six back can catch us as well. Charl’s there, George [Coetzee] is due a win, so it’s a long way from over.”

Fisher Jnr, who was named Sunshine Tour Players’ Player of the Year two days ago, shot an eagle and seven birdies on the way to a nine-under-par round of 62 on day two.

“It was a great day out there,” Fisher Jnr said. “Everything just happened for me and I sank the putts I needed to sink.”

Coetzee completed the all-South African top three on 12- under-par, while home favourite Schwartzel fired 65 on the West Course to tie for fourth place alongside compatriot Keith Horne and Felipe Aguilar of Chile.

David Drysdale is tied for 11th on eight-under but George Murray (six-under) and Scott Henry (four-under) were the only other Scots to survive the cut.