George Coetzee carded a second-successive five-under-par 66 on Friday in the European Tour’s abrdn Scottish Open in North Berwick to move to 10-under-par, just one shot off the lead going into the weekend.
After a superlative opening nine – the scoring nine at the Renaissance Club – in which he made five birdies to turn for home at five-under, he made a bogey on the par-five 10th as the weather began to turn. He backed that up with a birdie on 17, and he ended the day just one off the lead held by world number one Jon Rahm, Belgian Thomas Detry and England’s Jack Senior.
“I’m actually just trying to bomb it out there, have fun,” said Coetzee, as he tried to explain why he was doing so well. “I’m not really too meticulous about what I’m doing this week. I’m just trying to enjoy the golf for a change.
“I’ve actually not played enough golf. I played last week. Was a bit rusty but missed the cut by one, so I actually felt like I played really well. I’ve played a lot of golf back home but not tournament golf, not ideal.”
For Coetzee, there’s more at stake than the title this week as he sees if he can grab a last-minute qualification into next week’s Open Championship. “I’d like for the rest of the week to rain out and take it as it is now and we can go to next week,” he laughed. “No, a good couple of days and hopefully a decent finish on Sunday will get me in next week.”
Behind Coetzee, Justin Walters had a good second round of four-under-par 67 to move to six-under for the tournament and a share of 16th, just five back. Brandon Stone went level-par in the second round to be two-under for the tournament in 62nd, right on the cut line. Dean Burmester’s four-under 67 also got him into the weekend action right on the cut together with Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Branden Grace. They will all – but Stone – be grateful for the action ahead of the Open.
Garrick Higgo, Zander Lombard, Daniel van Tonder, Thomas Aiken, Wilco Nienaber, Justin Harding and Haydn Porteous all missed the cut.