Eagle-machine Van Tonder takes halfway lead at Karen


Daniel van Tonder - Getty Images

Daniel van Tonder eagled each of the three par fives at Karen Country Club as the South African moved into a one-stroke lead at the halfway point of the Kenya Savannah Classic supported by Absa.

The 30-year-old, who won four of his seven Sunshine Tour titles in the 2020 season, had ten threes on his card on day two in Nairobi – three of them birdies and three of them eagles – as a seven under par 64 added to his opening 65 for a 13-under par total.

That moved him to the front of the packed leaderboard at Karen Country Club, a short, classic golf course which has proven equally challenging for players of every playing style over both of the back-to-back events held there.


“It started from the tee shots,” said van Tonder. “I hit three very good tee shots. On the sixth I hit driver and had 177 metres to the pin and hit nine iron, I got short of that last slope and made the putt. Second one was driver, eight iron, pin-high left and made a good putt again. Then the next was driver-wedge and I hit the putt well and made it.

“It’s a bit different this week. Last week I was here as well and missed the cut by one. I was struggling with my swing a bit – trying to play aggressive but it didn’t really work the first day. On the second I got it back. But this week I’ve found something again. I got some confidence out there so I am able to hit the driver on most tee boxes and be aggressive going into the pins.

“A partnership like this (with Abigail) is awesome, especially being my wife as well. Being on the bag seven or eight years now, time flies. We’re having fun and enjoying it. She knows me, so I trust her with her decisions. I trusted her with the irons every time and made eagle – so I should just do it more. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll take it hole by hole, give myself chances and we’ll be hard to beat.”

Justin Harding, the winner of last week’s Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker, continued his remarkable form at Karen as he carded a 66 to move to drop back to a share of second place having shared the first round lead.

He was joined on 12 under par by Scot David Drysdale, who signed for second successive 65 as he hunts a maiden European Tour title.

South Korean Kyongjun Moon had the highlight of the day as he made a hole-in-one albatross on the par four seventh hole, holing out from 346 yards with his driver.

Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell is just four shots back of the lead at nine-under par, four clear of fellow County Down man, Cormac Sharvin.

  • Full scoring HERE
  • Full Irish halfway report HERE

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