Graham McDowell carded a second round 5-under 67 to take over the lead Friday at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.
McDowell recovered from a double bogey at the par-4 14th to birdie two of his final three holes at Gary Player Country Club for a one stroke lead over Jason Dufner, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer and first round co-leader Lee Westwood. The world number three missed a lengthy birdie putt on No. 18 which would have tied him for the lead, finishing with a second round 70.
“It was a very calm and quiet front nine and a pretty exciting back nine, I guess,” said McDowell. “I made a couple of nice birdies around the turn, a nice chip-in at No. 13 and at 14 ... that second shot can only be described as an air shot."
McDowell took two strokes to get back onto the fairway after hitting a rock — and not his ball — with his second at the 14th. He then sent his fourth into a greenside bunker and missed a six-foot bogey putt.
“There's so much trouble lurking at this golf course, (but) a better day at the office. I enjoyed that.”
Simon Dyson and K.T. Kim are both in contention for the $1.25 million first prize in the annual 12-man invitation event, four off the pace after posting rounds of 70.
Anders Hansen is all alone in eighth at 3-under after carding a round of 69.
World number one Luke Donald could only manage an even par round of 72 to leave him five shots back, in a tie with first round co-leader Charl Schwartzel. The Masters champion struggled to a 74 with a birdie, a bogey and a double bogey.
British Open champion Darren rebounded with a round of 69 to move him out of last place. That honour now belongs to Francesco Molinari, who ballooned to a 5-over 77 which included three bogeys and a double bogey.