Sweden’s Sebastian Söderberg produced a composed second round of 65 to lead the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open by one stroke on a blustery day when La Réserve Golf Links presented an entirely different challenge.
A stronger wind and a tougher course set-up combined to keep the field largely in check after the low scoring of the opening round. It also made for a longer day as play was eventually suspended at 19:00 due to darkness, and with a few players who cannot change the lead who still need to complete their second rounds which they will do early on Saturday morning before the start of the third round.
Söderberg was able to get the most out of it though as he climbed to 10 under par overall and heads into the weekend chasing his second DP World Tour title.
“It was just one of those days where it felt kind of easy,” said the Swede. “It was windy but I was hitting my driver really well. I took care of the par fives and the two driveable par fours and made birdies on most of them. My short game was really good on those occasions when I did miss the green, and my putting was solid. It was a good day.”
His nearest challengers are South Africa’s Jacques P de Villiers and Germany’s Marcel Schneider on nine under par following respective second rounds of 67 and 68.
“I drove it well and just kept myself going with no big issues. It was windy but it was a consistent wind,” said De Villiers.
Englishmen Paul Waring (73) and Daniel Brown (68) and defending champion Antoine Rozner (74) of France are all well placed for the weekend on eight under par.
But where Söderberg found the going easy with a round of seven under par that was the lowest of the day, most of the professionals found it to be far more of a tricky Friday.
“There was a lot of good stuff in there and a lot of rubbish, but that’s golf I suppose. They were quite clever with the set-up and it was really hard to hit it close to some of the flags especially on the crosswind holes. Off some of these elevated tees it’s really hard to control your ball into some of these fairways with long rough around as well,” said Waring.
Rozner, who set the course record with his 62 on day one, fought hard to remain in contention. “It was one of the longest days I’ve had on a golf course. I hit the ball solid on the front nine and felt I played better than level par there, but the back nine was just bad,” he said of a second nine that included a double bogey on the 13th.
But joint course designer Louis Oosthuizen, who is only three shots off the lead going into the weekend, was smiling at a golf course that he feels played closer to how he and Peter Matkovich designed it.
“The first-round scoring was very low and on a golf course that you’ve co-designed you want it to be as tough as it can be. I think the scoring might still be good this week as the course needs time to settle in, but in the future it will be very tough.”