Scot Lawrie noses ahead in Sun City logjam

SUN CITY, South Africa Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:41pm EST

Paul Lawrie of Scotland watches his shot from the second tee during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, November 22, 2012. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro

Paul Lawrie of Scotland watches his shot from the second tee during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, November 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nikhil Monteiro

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SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) - Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie put on a masterclass in ball-striking to claim a one-stroke lead after the second round of the $5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday.

The Briton snatched three birdies on the back nine at the Gary Player Country Club to post a three-under-par 69 and a four-under tally of 140, one ahead of European Ryder Cup team mate Martin Kaymer of Germany (69).

"I struggled a bit with the driver so I hit a lot of three woods off the tee," 1999 British Open winner Lawrie told reporters.

"I also hit a lot of good shots with my irons. The greens though are a little slow and I felt I left a few putts out there."

American Bill Haas (73), the joint overnight leader alongside Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, was in a tie for third place on 143 with Italian Francesco Molinari (71) and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen (72) and Charl Schwartzel (71).

"The leaderboard is pretty packed," said Lawrie. "It's a case of so far so good for me but there is still a long way to go."

Kaymer came out of the blocks fast as he fired three birdies in the opening seven holes.

Back-to-back bogeys at the eighth and ninth halted his progress but he then picked up two more birdies coming home.

"It was a very good round. I hit a lot of good tee shots and once you hit the fairways here you can score well," said Kaymer.

"Unfortunately I hit it in the water at the ninth and made bogey there but three-under is a very good score on this golf course."

Oosthuizen woke up feeling under the weather and a double-bogey six at the 17th did nothing for his mood. But a closing birdie at the last hole represented something of a pick-me-up.

Defending champion Lee Westwood, the world number six, had a topsy-turvy round as he compiled a 73 containing two double bogeys to take seventh place on 144.

Colsaerts made a nightmare start by carding sevens at the second and third holes and eventually ballooned to a 78 for 148.

World number four Justin Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field, slumped to a 79 and was in 12th and last spot on 152.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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