Kruger goes top in Hong Kong as Higgins falls back after 74

South African golfer pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

David Higgins’s lead at the Hong Kong Open evaporated during the second round as the Kerry golfer shot a four-over-par 74 to fall back to a tie for 27th position on two under.

Higgins opened with a 64 but six bogeys in his first 14 holes saw him drop back to level par at Fanling. He picked up shots on the 15th and 18th and will start the third round five shots behind South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, who added a 66 to his opening 67 to move to seven under.

Waterford's Kevin Phelan missed his first cut as a professional, with his two-over 72 leaving him one shot away from making the weekend action as he finished on two over.

Peter Lawrie also missed out following his opening 77, a level-par second round of 70 seeing the Dubliner remain on seven over.

Kruger paid tribute to his country's former president Nelson Mandela after claiming the lead.

Aided by a run of six birdies in seven holes on the back nine he holds a one-shot lead over Wales' Stuart Manley.

The 27-year-old wore two black ribbons as a mark of respect to Mandela and said: “Wearing these is an honour.

“Our country lost a real live hero. He was one of the best people and presidents I have ever seen. I don’t know if our country will ever have (another) leader like that. To be able to turn the other cheek when you have been 27 years in prison....

“It will definitely affect white and black in our country. He fought for the black South Africans but the white South Africans love him just as much because he’s got a good heart, a heart of gold and that makes a big difference.”

Manley carded a second consecutive 67 to lie on six under, one ahead of veteran German Alex Cjeka, Australian Wade Ormsby and India's Shiv Kapur.