McDowell leads a crowded pack at Sun City

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell leads the way after day two at the Nedbank Golf Challenge – with four players breathing down his neck.

McDowell shot to the top of the leader board with a disciplined 67 in the second round on Friday, going seven under for the tournament being held at Sun City.

He rode his luck in a round that saw seven birdies and a blistering run on the back nine, going one under on holes 10, 11, 13, 16 and 18.

It could have been an even lower round had it not been for a double bogey seven on the troublesome par-five 14th hole.

“I am surprised nobody has gone into double figures yet, but there is enough birdies about for it to happen over the weekend. The course is immaculate and is certainly living up to its name, we’ll see what happens in the final two rounds,” said McDowell, after his round.

The 2010 US Open champ will face some stiff competition heading into round three as four players including world No. 2 Lee Westwood and Germany’s Martin Kaymer — are all only one shot off the pace on six under.

That being said, it remains a wide-open field with the rest of the pack only a couple of shots back — excluding Italian Francesco Molinari who seems pretty much out of it on five over par after shooting a disastrous 77 in his second round.

If McDowell can hold his effort together until the final day, he will become the first debutant since Mark Mcnulty in 1986 to land the coveted trophy at the Gary Player Country Club.

Charl Schwartzel struggled in his second round and lies tied for ninth alongside world number one Luke Donald on -2, after a disappointing 74 with a solitary birdie in the face of a bogey and double bogey pairing.

The lone South African in the field will need all the grit and determination he conjured up to win the US masters this year if he is going to mount a serious challenge.

Graeme McDowell -7 70 67
Jason Dufner -6 70 68
Robert Karlsson -6 69 69
Martin Kaymer -6 70 68
Lee Westwood -6 68 70
Simon Dyson -4 70 70
Kim Kyung-Tae -4 70 70
Anders Hansen -72 69
Luke Donald -2 70 72
Charl Schwartzel -2 18 +2 68 74
Darren Clarke -1 74 69
Francesco Molinari +5 18 +5 72 77

In the senior challenge, veteran Bernard Langer followed up his opening round of 69 with a spectacular 68 to head into the third round in the lead on -7.

The three-time winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge shot six birdies but faltered on the eighth and 11th holes with bogeys on each.

Welshman Ian Woosnam closely follows the German on -6 in second place, while Mark Calcavecchia on -4 and Nick Price with -2 are in third and fourth spots respectively.

Bernhard Langer -7 69 68
Ian Woosnam -6 69 69
Mark Calcavecchia -4 71 69
Nick Price -2 69 73
Tom Lehman -1 70 73
David Frost E 69 75 +3
Jeff Sluman +2 72 74
Mark O`Meara +4 75 73

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Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.

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