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Henrik Stenson takes a big lead in the South African Open at Serengeti

Updated: Friday, 16 Nov 2012 15:52 | Comments

Henrik Stenson is 13 under par at the half way stage
Henrik Stenson is 13 under par at the half way stage

Globetrotting Henrik Stenson holds a commanding four-stroke lead after two days of the South African Open at Serengeti.

Since the start of last month the 36-year-old former Ryder Cup star has played in Scotland, Portugal, America, China, America again and now South Africa.

But his pursuit of a first win since May 2009 could soon be over after superb rounds of 66 and 65 put him 13 under par at halfway.

When play was suspended because of lightning, fellow Swede Magnus Carlsson (67) shared second spot on nine under with first-round leader Merrick Bremner, who still had four holes of his second round to play.

Stenson, 19th at the PGA Tour's season-ending event in Florida on Sunday, did not land in Johannesburg until Tuesday and has been battling jetlag.

"I went to bed at midnight last night and woke up at 1.40am - I guess the body thought it was a bit of an afternoon kip," he said.

"I slept another couple of hours, so I don't know what time of day it is really."

After something of a shaky warm-up session he got going again with five birdies in seven holes around the turn and then produced a majestic eagle on the 576-yard eighth, his penultimate hole of the day.

The big-hitter needed only a drive and six-iron to find the island green - even though it was into the wind - and made an eight-foot putt.

"I counted eight drives on the course yesterday and that's probably as many as I hit the entire 2011 season.

"It's nice to get the feel back with the driver and get a bit of confidence.

"On this course, if you can fly it 280 or 290 metres, then you can take a lot of bunkers out of play and end up going in with a gap wedge instead of a seven-iron.

"It's a huge advantage - there are probably seven or eight holes where it makes a difference."

Bremner, who matched the course record with his opening 64, recovered from an early double bogey to grab four birdies, but had just dropped another shot when the sirens sounded.

In fourth place on eight under is Scotland's Lloyd Saltman, but the former Walker Cup star - he was a team-mate of Rory McIlroy five years ago - has to win to earn a European Tour card for next season.

Last week he failed to make it through the second stage of the qualifying school in Spain, but a 66 containing seven birdies showed what he is capable of.

"It's a sort of last-chance saloon for me," said the 27-year-old, ninth in the event last December.

England's Tommy Fleetwood, 124th on the money list and needing to move up five places to stay on the circuit, birdied five of his last six holes before the stoppage and was up into a tie for eighth on six under.

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