Alex Noren of Sweden is halfway to his fourth title of the current European Tour season, firing a 67 on Friday at Sun City in South Africa to lead the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
A victory wold catapult Noren, 34, into the World Top 10 for the first time. As late as May he was ranked 110th, only to rattle off wins at the Scottish Open, European Masters, and British Masters.
Five players are tied for second, two strokes behind Noren including a trio of South Africans led by George Coetzee and Louis Oosthuizen. Oosthuizen’s 66 was the only round better than Noren’s 67 on Friday. The low round led Oosthuizen to jump up 10 spots on the leader board.
Also tied for second is Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti, who recorded the first ace in tournament history when he drove straight into the hole from 195 yards out on No. 4 Friday. Zanotti was 4-under through four holes 6-under through 16 holes. However he bogeyed 17 and 18 to fall back into second place when he could have been tied for the lead.
Closing has been a perplexing thing for Zanotti so far this weekend. He’s 9-under on holes 1-16 and 3-over on 17 and 18.