Grace in Command at Fancourt
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

Grace leads the current Race to Dubai rankings.

In-form home favourite Branden Grace has assumed control at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt Links in South Africa. Bidding for back-to-back victories after securing his maiden European Tour victory at last week’s Joburg Open, the 23-year-old will take a sizeable advantage into the weekend.

An efficient swinger of the club, whose compact action could be considered typically South African, Grace’s path to the summit of the leaderboard has been serene.

His second round featured no fewer than eight birdies, the sole counterweight to which came at the strong par-four seventh.

With an aggregate score of 12-under-par, Grace enjoys a four-shot lead over 2010 Open de España champion Thomas Aiken (70) and England’s Lee Slattery (65).

Of the names sitting on the periphery of contention, the most surprising is undoubtedly that of José Maria Olazabal. The Ryder Cup captain was at something approaching his best on Friday, carding a 68 to vault into sole possession of fourth place.

Louis Oosthuizen (71), Retief Goosen (68), Raphael Jacquelin (69), Hennie Otto (69), Paul Lawrie (68), Alex Noren (68) and overnight leader Nicolas Colsaerts , who rescued a dismal round with a brace of birdies late in the back nine, sit a tie for fifth place, a shot adrift of the Spaniard.

Conor Nagle