JOHANNESBURG – Charl Schwartzel shot a 7-under 65 Friday to take a share of the halfway lead at the European Tour's season-opening South African Open.
The 2011 Masters champion had five birdies and an eagle in his first nine on the way to 12-under 132 and a place alongside Marco Crespi (67) after two rounds at Glendower Golf Club.
Morten Orum Madsen (66) was a shot behind the leaders.
Overnight leader Matthew Nixon (72) slipped into a tie for seventh and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (71) is tied for 12th at 7 under.
Schwartzel had the round of the day despite slipping slightly on the back nine, where three bogeys prevented him from taking a commanding lead at his home tournament – where he has never won before.
"I holed some nice putts and played some great shots to turn in 7 under. It looked like it could be a really low one at one stage," Schwartzel said.
He joined Crespi at 12 under after the Italian had set the early pace with six birdies and a single drop.
Madsen was alone in third and Christiaan Basson was fourth a further shot back at 10 under. Nixon shared seventh at 8 under after a double bogey on the par-4 No. 10 spoiled his round.
Goosen, the South African Open champion in 2005, was hanging in after a tougher day on Friday. He had an eagle on No. 15 but also double bogeyed No. 5 for a 71 to go with his opening-round 66. He is five shots off the lead.
David Duval missed the cut in Johannesburg after a second straight 74 took him to 4 over after two rounds. European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley struggled with a 76 with six bogeys to drop out with a 7-over 151 after two rounds.
Schwartzel's younger brother Attie is 6 under after two rounds, six shots behind his more famous sibling.