NAIROBI, April 9- Dismas Indiza continues to fly the country’s flag as the highest placed local hero tied for 14th on six under at the Barclays Kenya Open where the overall lead changed hands from Portugal to South Africa courtesy of Haydn Porteous remarkable round of 65 that established a two-stroke advantage at the end of Day 2 Friday.
Mumias based Indiza, 46 who carded another 69 to equal his score on Thursday; is one of only three home favourites to qualify for the final 36 holes alongside Brian Njoroge and Matthew Omondi, who both made the cut on the mark at two under par after rounds of 68 and 71 on Friday.
Among the local titans who missed the mark include last year’s hero, Greg Snow who followed up his opening day woes with another dismal 3 over 75 to end his interest alongside Riz Charania who made the cut last year but faded to a 2 over 74 having carded 2 under on Thursday.
Porteous, 20, once ranked as his nation’s top amateur, is just ahead of overnight leader José-Felipe Lima thanks to his seven under having dropped only two shots over the opening 36 holes to place him in prime position for the crown at the European Challenge Tour opener of the season.
Couple that with 13 birdies and an eagle at the par five third hole on day one, and it is easy to see why the former South African Amateur Champion is out in front, as he looks to secure a victory that would earn him full playing rights on the European Challenge Tour for the first time.
“Whenever you shoot 65 it’s a very good day out there, even though I had a bit of a shaky start after starting at the tenth, but then I drove the green at the 12th and two putted for birdie,” said the man who made it through the first two stages of The European Tour Qualifying School last year, before missing the four round cut at the Final in Spain.
“I got off to a slow start to the Sunshine Tour season this year after a few swing changes to try and become a bit more consistent, because four rounds is a lot of golf at this sort of level, and I wanted to play better over 72 holes. It wasn’t a great start this year, but these two rounds show a bit of improvement, and I’m hoping for the same over the weekend,” the leader said.
The third round will see Porteous have to deal with the same issue that faced Lima on day two, a fact known throughout the golfing fraternity, which states the difficulty experienced by so many in following up a good score with another the next day.
For the second placed man from Portugal, though, he fared better than most on that front after an opening eight under par score had seen him carve out an early two stroke advantage of his own after 18 holes.
Five gains and a mere two bogeys saw Lima sign for a 69 on Friday and post 11 under par, as he continued the impressive form he has shown this week, in his first tournament since back surgery last September.
“I was not thinking about the score or how I made birdies at certain holes yesterday, and I just tried to focus on my game, make birdies and do my best.
“I am just pleased to be playing well again. I played well last year and then one week my back started hurting, so to be restarting now with no pain and being able to show what I can do, that makes me very happy,” Lima said.
Another South African, Brandon Stone, is in a tie for third on nine under par alongside Frenchman Cyril Bouniol, who finished 19th on the Challenge Tour Rankings last season, and Dutchman Daan Huizing who graduated in sixth place two years ago.
The trio carded scores of 66, 67 and 68, respectively, and are ideally placed heading into the weekend in Nairobi.
One shot further adrift is a chasing pack that includes Louis De Jager (67), also of South Africa, Finland’s Jaakko Makitalo (68), Frenchman Victor Riu (67), the Swiss player Damian Ulrich (69) and England’s George Woolgar (66), who are all tied for sixth.
In a typically cosmopolitan second tier field, a further three players share 11th at seven under, with France’s Joel Stalter (68), Borja Virto Astudillo (68) of Spain and Englishman Sam Walker (68) all within six strokes of the leading Porteous.
-Material from europetour.com