Paul Dunne makes the cut as Aiken steals Tshwane Open show

Irishman hit first round 73 but responded well on Friday, as Aiken hits impressive 62

 Paul Dunne of Ireland during day two of the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club. Photograph: Getty Images

Paul Dunne of Ireland during day two of the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Paul Dunne has made the cut at the Tshwane Open after a second round 68 at the Pretoria Country Club on Friday.

The Greystones native responded well from his disappointing opening round 73, and a slow start again in his second round. Dunne hit the first of five birdies on the par 4 seventh hole, with the others arriving on the eighth, 12th, 14th and 16th holes. He is nine shots off the joint leaders.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork share the lead at the halfway stage, 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 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.

“It was very solid again from tee to green like (Thursday),” the 33-year-old from Glasgow said. “Delighted with that. I struggled a bit last week from tee to green but it seems to have clicked this week. Hopefully I can hole a few more putts this weekend.

“The rough out there is pretty extreme but there’s not a great deal of drivers (off the tee) which is probably suiting me right now because I struggled last week with my driver.

“That’s kind of been taken out of my hands a little bit and I felt as though the rest of my game was pretty good.”

England’s James Morrison was a shot off the lead on nine under thanks to a second round of 66 containing six birdies in his last 12 holes.

Ireland’s Darren Clarke missed the cut, his second round 77 leaving him nine over par overall.

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