HONG KONG — Jbe Kruger of South Africa paid tribute to Nelson Mandela after taking a one-shot lead at the Hong Kong Open on Friday.
“Our country has lost a real-life hero and wearing this (black ribbon) is a real honor for me,” said Kruger, who wore black ribbons on his chest and arm while shooting a 4-under 66 in the second round.
“I don’t think our country will ever have another leader like Mandela. He has been sick and in hospital for a long time yet it was sad when I heard this morning of his passing away. Unfortunately I never met him but I know his death will affect everyone, white and black, in my country.”
Kruger made seven birdies and three bogeys for a 7-under 133 overall at the Hong Kong Golf Course. He is one shot ahead of Stuart Manley (67), who bogeyed his final hole.
“It wasn’t the finish I wanted. But it’s OK, I’m still in the mix,” Manley said. “I started slowly, maybe (I had) too much coffee, but then began to control the ball well.”
Alex Cejka (67), Shiv Kapur (66) and Wade Ormsby (68) were tied for third at 5 under.
Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) began the second round with a flurry of birdies but lost momentum and finished at 137.
Chinese teenager Tianlang Guan, who made the cut at the Masters in April, failed to make it through to the weekend after a 75 left him at 6 over, five shots below the cut.