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Schwartzel secures share of lead in South Africa
Malelane, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending champion Charl Schwartzel fired a 4-under-par 68 on Friday to join Morten Orum Madsen in the lead at the halfway point of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Madsen shot 71 on Friday to retain a share of the top spot, his impressive play carrying over from last week's win at the South African Open Championship, where Schwartzel tied for fourth after holding the third-round lead.
"I've got a bunch of confidence right now," said Madsen. "I really believe that I'm going to hit good shots on pretty much every shot. I've heard it's tough to come out the week after you've won and play well. I felt pretty good building up to this week and I just wanted to go out there and put some solid shots together."
Schwartzel and Madsen sit at 8-under-par 136 through 36 holes at Leopard Creek Country Club, one shot ahead of Soren Hansen and Ross Fisher, who carded matching 65s to share third at minus-7.
Richard Finch reached 10-under for the tournament on Friday, but he played his last four holes at 4-over, with a double bogey at the last, en route to a 70 and a tie for fifth. He stands alongside Tyrone Van Aswegen (68) at 6-under 138.
Danny Willett (70), Romain Wattel (69), Sihwan Kim (69), Victor Riu (71) and Michael Hollick (70) share seventh at minus-5.
Madsen went off the 10th tee Friday and managed to retain his place atop the leaderboard, finding his way to the clubhouse with the lead despite an up- and-down round.
The 25-year-old Dane, who earned his first career European Tour win last week, opened with three straight pars before tripping to a double-bogey 7 at the 13th. He closed his outward nine with three birdies and a pair of pars, then eagled the par-5 second before again finding trouble.
Madsen stumbled to back-to-back bogeys from the third and again double bogeyed at the fifth before bouncing back with birdies at Nos. 6 and 8 to snare the clubhouse advantage at 8-under.
"I wasn't expecting to go out and shoot 65 today," he said. "I knew I was playing well, so I wanted to put a decent round together. I won last week and I'm over the moon happy, so everything that happens this week is icing on the cake. I'm just trying to enjoy the ride."
Schwartzel started later, on the first tee, and produced a much cleaner card.
The 2011 Masters champion went bogey-free at Leopard Creek, notching birdies at Nos. 5, 6, 9 and 15 to join Madsen atop the leaderboard.
"It's just one of those course where the targets I look at are all in the right places," he said, "and also, I've got comfortable on these greens."
As a result, Schwartzel and Madsen will go head-to-head in the final group for the second time in less than a week.
NOTES: Schwartzel held a 1-stroke lead over Madsen entering the final round of the South African Open Championship ... The cut line fell at even-par 144, with 67 players making it through to the weekend ... Schwartzel also won this tournament in 2005. He has finished second here four times. Pablo Martin is the only other player to have won this event twice, claiming the title in 2009 and 2010. Martin is failed to make the cut at 3-over ... This event is co- sanctioned by the South African Sunshine Tour.
11/29 12:06:02 ET