Peter Byrne
sa open

Darren Clarke amongst Major winners who fail to make SA Open cut

Rory McIlroy is among five contenders at the storm-affected tournament. .

FOUR MAJOR WINNERS Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke and Retief Goosen were eliminated from the South African Open when the storm-hit second round finished Saturday.

The cut was 143, one under for two rounds at Glendower Golf Club in eastern Johannesburg, leaving world number two Rory McIlroy as the sole ex-major champion still in contention.

The 27-year-old from Northern Ireland defied severe back pain to shoot a second-round 68 Friday and trail halfway leader Graeme Storm of England by three strokes.

Play was suspended late Friday by a storm with a few golfers still on the course and they completed their rounds early Saturday.

Among those was Clarke from Northern Ireland, who slumped to a seven-bogey 78 after beginning the tournament with a two-under 70.

The 2011 British Open champion struggled on the par fours, dropping a shot at six of them over the 6,942-metre (7,100-yard) parkland course.

Four-time major champion Els of South Africa added a 70 to his opening 74 for a 144 total, missing a chance to play the final two rounds by just one shot.

Compatriot Goosen, twice a major title-holder, recovered from a disastrous eight-over 80 Thursday to card a 71, but the damage had been done in the opening round.

Faldo, returning to the European Tour at the age of 59, was unable to replicate his excellent two-under 70 start, and a 75 meant he missed the cut by two shots.

A double-bogey six at the fifth, sandwiched between two bogeys, proved costly for the winner of six majors, who combines playing golf with commentating on it.

Storm led by two shots from South Africans Trevor Fisher junior and Jbe Kruger and American Peter Uihlein.

McIlroy, who has won every major bar the US Masters, is among five contenders a further stroke back.

© – AFP, 2017

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