Dyson is happy to get back in the old routine

England's Simon Dyson
England's Simon Dyson
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Playing with golf balls resembling those found on a snowy municipal in the depths of winter, Simon Dyson moved into contention for a first European Tour title in four years at the Joburg Open.

The 37-year-old from Malton has always been a striking presence on the golf course with his blonde hair, but now he has yellow golf balls to enhance the image.

Dyson is playing with a new yellow ball provided by his club manufacturer, Srixon, and it has done him no harm at all, as rounds of 67 and 65 across the two courses of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club have moved him to within a shot of the lead.

But it is not just the eye-catching new technology that is helping, as Dyson revealed that in his search for form at the start of the new campaign, and a first win since 2011, he has gone back to an old set of clubs.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been up there,” said the six-time European Tour winner.

“I’ve been playing all right, but at the beginning of the season I changed my irons and they were costing me dearly – I didn’t have a clue how far they were going.

“This is the first week I’ve put my old set from a couple of years ago back in the bag and it’s no coincidence I’m hitting it pin-high again.

“That makes a heck of a difference because I’ve had a few tap-in birdies.”

Playing the east course, Dyson birdied five of his first 10 holes before dropping his only shot of the day at the 12th, but converted from 15 feet for a gain at the 17th.

“I didn’t play as well as yesterday, but I scored pretty well,” said Dyson, who trails South African Wallie Coetsee by one.

“I made four birdies on the front nine and I birdied the par fives – if you get your drives away then they’re all pretty good chances.

“There was some luck. I got fortunate on 10: I pushed my drive down there and managed to get a shot, hit to about three feet and knocked that in, which was a bonus. It was a good day and I was very happy with the score.

“Shame about the last but 67, around a course like that, I’m pleased with that.”

Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Harrogate’s John Parry missed the cut. Fitzpatrick shot 71, 69 while Parry carded 73, 69.