Van Rooyen, Lombard lead SA’s charge at Open weekend

12 representatives have been whittled down to five but it’s far from doom and gloom.

Zander Lombard and Erik van Rooyen will lead the remaining handful of South Africans into the weekend of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

A dozen South Africans began the week looking to reclaim the Claret Jug for the first time since Ernie Els in 2012 but 12 was whittled down to just five after the likes of Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and veterans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen all missed the halfway mark.

For Grace and George Coetzee, it was a narrow affair with the former dropping a shot at the penultimate hole to sit out the weekend while Coetzee bogeyed the last to match Grace in missing the cut by just one stroke. Dylan Frittelli’s plans for glory were torn apart after his second round 79 as joined leading amateur Jovan Rebula on the sidelines.

It was far from all doom and gloom, even if steady rain did dominate the majority of the day’s play, for the South African cause with Van Rooyen finishing where he started the day and just two off the overnight lead. Lombard, one of the late starters, held his nerve to sit alongside Van Rooyen at -4 through 36 holes.

Brandon Stone, who won last week’s Scottish Open after equalling the European Tour’s low round record of 60 in the final round, maintained his place on the leaderboard and is just one behind his countrymen and set for a late start on Saturday.

Shaun Norris, a regular feature on the Japan Tour, and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen are six back with the weekend to play. Oosthuizen, in particular, will be one to watch as he looks to put his experience into play as he bids for a second Major title.

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