Molinari remains on top at Joburg Open
Johannesburg, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Edoardo Molinari carded a 4- under 68 on Friday to retain his share of the lead at the Joburg Open.
Craig Lee, who also held a share of the lead at the end of the first round, shot a 4-under 67 on Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club's West Course to meet Molinari at 11-under-par 132.
Molinari played his second round on the club's East Course, which will be the lone course played in the final two rounds.
"There are a few less birdie chances on the East Course, but all of the par fives are reachable, so you can make a good score," Molinari said.
David Horsey fired an 8-under 63 on the West Course to vault into a share of third place with George Coetzee at 10-under 133. Coetzee posted a 68 on the East Course.
Roope Kakko (64), Danny Willett (65), Andrew Georgiou (65), Alastair Forsyth (70), James Heath (68), Justin Walters (70) and Jin Jeong (69) are tied for fifth at 9-under.
Molinari opened his round with a birdie at the first, but gave that shot right back with a bogey at the second.
After parring his next three holes, the Italian birdied the sixth and eighth to move to 9-under.
Molinari again posted two birdies in a three-hole stretch from the 10th to claim the lead at 11-under, and parred his last six holes to remain there.
"It was another very good round of golf, and I hit the ball very well," said Molinari. "Maybe not as well as yesterday, but I gave myself a lot of chances, which is what you have to do around the East Course. I am very pleased with 4- under today."
Lee did all of his movement during his front nine, starting with back-to-back birdies at the second and third.
He added another gain at the fifth before converting a birdie at the eighth to reach the turn at 11-under.
A bogey at the 12th dropped him a shot off the pace, but he bounced back with a birdie at the 14th.
He parred his final four holes to finish alongside Molinari heading into the weekend.
"The goal was to not fall back and there's a strong field behind you, so it was important that I didn't slip back," stated Lee. "I had a pretty good chance early on to distance myself from the rest of the field, but I didn't really capitalize on the back nine."
NOTES: Molinari's last win came at the 2010 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles ... Molinari is a former U.S. Amateur champion ... This tournament is co-sanctioned by South Africa's Sunshine Tour ... The cut line fell to 4- under-par 139, with 76 players advancing to the weekend ... Among those to miss the cut was defending champion Richard Sterne ... Three players, who have not already qualified and who finish in the top ten of this event, will secure places in the British Open. If there is a tie, the spot will be awarded to the player with the highest ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking at the start of the week.
02/07 11:51:28 ET