Darren Clarke misses out at Joburg Open but Kevin Phelan makes cut
South African Wallie Coetsee tops leaderboard with one-shot advantage at 12 under
Newly named Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke misses the cut after three bogeys on the back nine in the Joburg Open in South Africa. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images
Just a week after the euphoria of being named Europe’s 2016 Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke missed the cut at the Joburg Open following a sloppy second round of 72.
The Northern Irishman played on the supposedly easier West Course at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Club, but three bogeys on the back nine meant the former British Open champion missed out on the weekend action by four strokes.
Kevin Phelan is the only Irish player to make the cut after shooting a second round three-under par 68 on the East Course, while Peter Lawrie and Gareth Maybin missed out.
Overnight leader Nic Henning, who possesses the worst possible world ranking of joint 1,555th, also dropped out of the competition after a disastrous 78, including four bogeys in consecutive holes, followed his opening 62.
At the top of the leaderboard, South African Wallie Coetsee carded a 65 for a total of 12 under par and a one-shot advantage over Briton Simon Dyson (67) and home pair Garth Mulroy (68) and Tjaart van der Walt (69).
If he does win on Sunday, Coetsee is hoping his family get to see it. “When we moved to Jeffery’s Bay 2½ ago we decided to get rid of our television. So if [daughters] Zoe and Kelly want to watch, I hope my wife Ashley takes them to a friend’s place.”
Asked about leading one of South Africa’s biggest events, which also has three places in the Open Championship at St Andrews up for grabs, he said: “Somebody must wake me up; it feels like a dream. It would be great, but that is a big bonus. First thing is to wake up tomorrow and enjoy this ride.”
Seven of the top 10 completed their second rounds on the harder East Course on Friday, including Dyson, who fired six birdies and one bogey in his 67.
He has won six times on the European Tour but missed the cut in his first three events this season.
“I didn’t play as good as yesterday, but I scored pretty well,” he said. “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.”
A flawless 63 from Alex Noren lifted the Swede into joint seventh on nine under with 10 players a shot further back on a crowded leaderboard.