DURBAN -- Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had his wishes come true in Durban on Friday. Not only did he shoot a 64 to grab the second-round lead in the Volvo Golf Champions, but he also won a $50,000 excavator for his farm.
A 30-foot birdie putt on the final green took the 30-year-old South African into a one-stroke halfway lead over Scotland's Scott Jamieson – who was also round in 64 – and first-round leader Thongchai Jaidee, who shot a 68.
VOLVO GOLF CHAMPIONS
The Volvo Golf Champions originated in Bahrain in 2011, but moved to South Africa in 2012.
The digger was then presented to Oosthuizen because he had been promised it rather than a car if he was part of the winning pro-am team with Jaidee and amateur Colin Ledwith.
The team was tied with Darren Clarke, Thorbjorn Olesen and their amateur partner with one hole to play. And once Oosthuizen’s group reached the final green with a chance to win, he rallied his troops.
"I walked around to the guys and said, 'Listen, we need one of these to go in,'" he explained afterward. "I was fortunate enough to make the long one – and then Colin made one as well."
For the final two rounds, the 2013 opener on the European Tour is back to professionals only, and Oosthuizen, Jaidee and Jamieson are way out on their own as they head into the weekend.
There is a six-stroke gap to the six players tied for fourth on 5 under – England's Danny Willett, Scotland's Paul Lawrie, Irishman Shane Lowry, Frenchman Julien Quesne, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.
Reigning British Open champion Ernie Els is among those one further back following a disappointing 72.
Jamieson is trying to make it a double triumph in Durban, having last month achieved his first European Tour success in the Nelson Mandela Championship over at Royal Durban. That qualified him for a place in this elite 33-man winners-only field, even though that event had to be reduced to 36 holes because of rain.
After more downpours early Friday, there was a two-hour delay before the second round began. But Jamieson must have taken it as an omen and promptly birdied five of the first eight holes. Then came three more in a row from the 13th and he led on his own following a 12-foot putt at the 17th, before Oosthuizen birdied the last two and overtook him on 12 under.
"If it rains for a couple more days, maybe that's a good thing for me," the 29-year-old Glaswegian said.
This is his first-ever week as a member of the world's top 100 ,and another victory now would put him into contention for a place in next month's 64-man WGC-Accenture World Match Play in Arizona.
There will be an unusual test for him and the rest of the field, however. Across the road from the course is an African National Congress rally expected to attract around 80,000 people.
The players had a taste of what to expect during the second round as the sound system was tested out.
"Once it's your turn to hit you manage to get in the zone, but with my tee shot on 18 the music had been on for a while and right before I pulled the trigger it stopped," said Jamieson. "That probably put me off more than if it had been silent and then started."