Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork share the lead at the halfway stage of the Tshwane Open, but the round of the day belonged to home favourite Thomas Aiken.
Aiken had an outside chance of recording the first 59 on the European Tour when he played his opening 15 holes at Pretoria Country Club in nine under par, meaning he needed to birdie the last three to break the magical 60 barrier.
A bogey on the seventh, his 16th, ended Aiken’s chances of making history, but he bounced back with a 10th birdie of the day on the next on his way to a 62, 10 shots better than his first round.
“You don’t get too many opportunities in your career to shoot one (a 59),” Aiken said. “You get close now and then.
“I did my best to try and make a few birdies when I had the opportunity coming in and it just didn’t happen. It just shows that when you force issues, it just doesn’t happen. But one has to give it a try.”
Aiken joined fellow South Africans Justin Walters and Peter Karmis on eight under par, two shots behind Jamieson and Bjork, who carded rounds of 65 and 67 respectively.
Jamieson has spent the last two seasons battling to retain his playing privileges, finishing 106th and 107th in the Race to Dubai, but won his sole European Tour title in South Africa at the rain-shortened Nelson Mandela Championship in 2013.
All three of Yorkshire’s competitors made it through to the weekend, each having opened with a three-under-par 68.
Woodsome Hall’s Chris Hanson added a level-par 71 after an indifferent start that saw him bookend a birdie at three with bogeys at two and four.
He had two further birdies, at holes seven and 14, and a bogey at the 12th.
Howley Hall’s Marcus Armitage eagled the ninth for the second successive day as he added a one-over-par 72 that also included three birdies.
Malton’s Simon Dyson, six times a winner on the European Tour, showed his class by hitting back from the loss of five shots in four holes by birdieing 14 and 16 for a two-over-par 73.