Chris Paisley and Adrian Saddier moved into unchartered waters while Chase Koepka failed to get into gear in the second round of the BMW SA Open at Glendower Golf Club in the City of Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, South Africa.
Englishman Paisley and French counterpart Saddier share the lead on 13 under par after returning respective scores of 65 and 63. Koepka returned a one-under-par 71 along with joint overnight leader Branden Grace. They share the fourth spot at 8 under along with two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent.
South Africa’s Jacques Kruyswijk holds solo third place on 9 under.
Saddier and former Tennessee player Paisley have never won on the European Tour, but the omens might just be in the Paisley’s favor. English players have won three of the last four SA Opens.
Paisley, whose best finish in a European Tour event is third, only dropped one shot in his round. He bogeyed the par-5 13th hole, but made amends with four birdies in his next five holes.
“I can’t wait for the weekend,” said Paisley, who won the 2012 English Challenge on the European Challenge Tour. “Obviously, I have never been in this position before, so tomorrow, I’m just going to go and play and do my best.
“At the moment it’s weird, I feel like I didn’t play amazing.”
Saddier matched the course record with seven birdies and an eagle. The journeyman pro has only ever recorded one top 10 in five seasons as a European Tour pro, a sixth-place finish in the 2014 Nelson Mandela Championship. Like Paisley, he has one Challenge Tour victory, the 2016 Fred Olsen Challenge de España.
“The finish was awesome,” the Frenchman said. “I started very well, it was quite slow but after I made three birdies in a row on 15, 16 and 17, it was quite good.
“I didn’t know, I have a joint course record but it’s quite cool. I’m excited for the weekend but there’s still 36 holes to play and we try to stay focused on the last two rounds.”
Koepka began with a bogey and added three more. Thankfully, he made five birdies to limit the damage.