With reporting from The European Tour
Dean Burmester fired a flawless 65 on Friday to head into the weekend in the European Tour’s Omega European Masters with a slender one-shot lead.
The South African reached the turn in 32 after closing the front nine with birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth. He then picked up further shots at the 10th and 14th before producing a brilliant up-and-down at the 17th to keep his card clean.
The two-time European Tour winner had a good opportunity to double his advantage at the last but he was unable to convert his birdie putt from nine feet and went into the clubhouse on 11-under-par.
Englishman Andy Sullivan and Belgian Thomas Detry were in a tie for second on 10-under, with Italy’s Renato Paratore a single shot further back.
Afternoon starter Burmester began the day four shots behind first-round leader James Morrison after opening with a 64, and he took a while to get going on Friday, reeling off five pars in a row before getting his first birdie from 25 feet at the sixth.
Two more birdies came along shortly afterwards – at the seventh and ninth – and with Morrison surrendering a four-shot lead after making a disappointing start to the back nine, Burmester hit the front with a 15-foot birdie on the 10th.
The 32-year-old gave himself a good eagle chance at the par-five 14th after sending his approach to 15 feet but he had to settle for a birdie there to move to 11-under.
And he did well to stay there after going from rough to bunker at the 17th, but a superb shot from the sand bailed him out and he went on to save par before narrowly missing his birdie putt at the last.
Burmester was happy with his day’s work. He said: “I’ve played well both days, today I was just solid. I didn’t get off to the best of starts, but holed a nice 10-footer on the first for par. You need those momentum ones, that just set the tone for the day.
“I putted beautifully again today. The greens were a little trickier this afternoon, I think it will be more of the same on the weekend. I’m very happy with today.”
Justin Harding carded a second consecutive four-under 66 to be at eight-under in a share of fifth, just three shots behind Burmester. Darren Fichardt’s level-par 70 saw him in a share of 22nd at the halfway mark at four-under, together with Daniel van Tonder who also signed for a 70.
Rory Sabbatini made the cut on the number at one-under after his two-over 72, but George Coetzee, Justin Walters, Wilco Nienaber, Brandon Stone, Jacques Kruyswijk, Bryce Easton, Zander Lombard and Haydn Porteous all missed the cut.