Justin Harding took route 66 to surge into contention in the Asian Tour’s International Series England at Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, near Newcastle, along with teenage star Joohyung Kim of South Korea.
The South African, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, made a big move during the second round, with his five-under-par 66 seeing him to six-under-par for the tournament. And it served to put behind him the frustrations of a bogey-bogey finish to his opening round.
Harding, 36, said: “I’m in a good spot. I was a bit grumpy after yesterday’s finish – I felt like if I’d got in at three-under-par I would’ve been happy.
“I hit a lot of good shots today. I made a couple of putts but felt like I gave myself a bucket-load of chances. It could’ve been a little bit better had a few gone in – but I’m happy where I’m at tournament-wise.”
Harding shone on the front nine – the loop where scoring has been hardest for the field. He made birdies at the second (his 11th), sixth (his 15th) and eighth (his 17th) to add to a trio of gains on his outer loop on the Hunting Course.
Harding added: “I felt like I gave myself a chance on almost every hole coming in. We made three, so it was fine – I’m happy with it. The only one that I was having to grind on was four, which is the converted par-five. That’s just a strong golf hole.”
Harding and Kim led by one from six players including Neil Schietekat, who had a three-under 68, and Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent, who won on the Japan Golf Tour last week and also had a 68 in the second round.
Another South African with a 68 was Ian Snyman, who moved to four-under for the tournament and a share of ninth. Jaco Ahlers had a one-over 72 to be two-over at the 36-hole mark in a share of 17th. Adilson Da Silva had a level-par 71 to stay at one-under in 25th, and Bryce Easton was on one-over after a two-over 73. Keith Horne was one stroke back after carding a level-par 71.
Pueter Moolman, Jovan Rebula, Mathiam Keyser and Benjamin Follett-Smith of Zmibabwe all missed the cut.