Digger delight for Durban leader Oosthuizen

Updated: Friday, 11 Jan 2013 17:05

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had his wishes come true in Durban today - not just a 64 to lead the Volvo Champions event, but the bonus of a digger for his farm.

A 30-foot birdie putt on the final green took the 30-year-old South African into a one-stroke halfway lead over Scotland's Scott Jamieson - also round in 64 - and Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee.

The digger was then presented to Oosthuizen because he had been promised it rather than a car if he was part of the winning team on the day with Jaidee and amateur Colin Ledwith, a two-handicap member at Canons Brook in Essex.

They were level with Darren Clarke, Thorbjorn Olesen and their partner with one to play and once on the putting surface Oosthuizen said: "I walked around to the guys and said 'Listen, we need one of these to go in'.

"I was fortunate enough to make the long one - and then Colin made one as well."

For the final two rounds it is back to professionals only and Oosthuizen, Jaidee and Jamieson are way out on their own as they head into the weekend.

There is a six-stroke gap to the six players in joint fourth place on five under - Ireland’s Shane Lowry, England's Danny Willett, Scot Paul Lawrie, Frenchman Julien Quesne, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Dane Thomas Bjorn.

Current Open champion Ernie Els is among those one further back following a disappointing 72.

The other three Irish competitors in the field - Padraig Harington, Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey - experienced mixed fortunes on day two. Harrington’s 71 leaves him on three under, Clarke 68 shot him up to one under, while Hoey’s forgettable 74 saw him drop to two over.

Jamieson is trying to make it a double triumph in the city, having last month achieved his first European Tour success in the Nelson Mandela Championship at Royal Durban.

That qualified him for a place in the elite 33-man winners-only field at Durban Country Club even though the event had to be reduced to 36 holes because of rain.

After more downpours there was a two-hour delay before the second round today, but Jamieson must have taken it as an omen and promptly birdied five of the first eight holes.

Then came three more in a row from the 13th and he led on his own following a 12-foot putt at the 17th, only for Oosthuizen to birdie the last two and overtake him on 12 under.

"If it rains for a couple more days maybe that's a good thing for me," the 29-year-old Glaswegian said.

This is his first-ever week as a member of the world's top 100 and another victory now would put him into contention for a place in next month's 64-man Accenture World Match Play in Arizona.

There will be an unusual test for him tomorrow, however. Across the road from the course is an African National Congress rally expected to attract around 80,000 people.

The players had a taste of what to expect during the second round as the sound system was tested out.

"Once it's your turn to hit you manage to get in the zone, but with my tee shot on 18 the music had been on for a while and right before I pulled the trigger it stopped.

"That probably put me off more than if it had been silent and then started."

Jaidee, leader by three after his opening 65, added a 68, while Colin Montgomerie fell back to next-to-last on six over with a worst-of-the-day 78.