Burmester races into Kenya contention with 64

Dean Burmester came racing through the field in Friday in the second round of the European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open with a seven-under-par 64 sling-shotting him into a share of third place heading into the weekend.

His round, the best of the day at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi, was matched by Australia’s Scott Hend, who shared the lead with Finn Kalle Samooja on 11-under-par, one ahead of Burmester and a pair of Scots in former South African Open champion Richie Ramsay and Connor Syme.

Burmester’s round included eight birdies and a bogey. The dropped shot came after he had made six birdies, including four in a row around the turn from nine to 12. He quickly recovered from that stumble, and he made two more birdies coming home, on 15 and 18.

That was more than Justin Harding was able to do. Harding also made four birdies from nine to 12 around the turn, and, after three before that on the front nine, he was set fair to take the lead into the weekend at 12-under for the tournament with six holes to play in the second round.

But he dropped three shots in four holes from 13 to 16, and he now finds himself two off the lead at nine-under after 36 holes together with Raphael Jacquelin of France, Scot Calum Hill, and American Kurt Kitayama, a former Mauritius Open champion.

Garrick Higgo was in a share of 10th on seven-under after a second round of 68, while Wilco Nienaber’s 69 lifted him into a share of 12th.

George Coetzee turned his fortunes around after opening with a one-over 72, his five-under 66 lifting him to four-under for the tournament and a share of 37th. With him on four-under were Jayden Schaper and Justin Walters after rounds of 70 and 71 respectively.

Darren Fichardt and JC Ritchie each carded one-under 70 to move to three-under at halfway in 44th place together with Zimbabwean Scott Vincent.

Haydn Porteous was one of the last of the South Africans to make the cut as his second-successive one-under 70 saw him making it into the weekend on the number. Also on the number were Louis de Jager and Jacques Kruyswijk.

Daniel van Tonder’s four-under 67 was in vain as he missed the cut, as did Mathiam Keyser.

Since graduating from the Challenge Tour ahead of the 2019 season, Samooja has impressed with two runner-up finishes on the European Tour, and will now look to secure a first win at this level. In stark contrast to Samooja, 47-year-old Hend came into the week having missed seven cuts in his last eight events but his joint-best of the week 64 moved him into contention for a fourth European Tour title.

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