Martin separates from pack in South Africa

Pablo Martin plays his second shot into the 18th green at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

MALELANE, South Africa – Pablo Martin shot 9-under 63 on Friday, taking a four-shot lead over Ernie Els and Edoardo Molinari after two rounds at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Spaniard was at 13 under in the event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine and European Tours.

The first amateur to win a European Tour event two years ago, Martin made eight birdies and eagled the 18th hole with a 3-iron to the green and a 10-foot putt.

“I was a bit surprised by this. I struggled to keep my card and it was pretty tight at the end, but I did it,” Martin said. “I planned to just come here with my sister and see the animals and have a holiday. So far I like this place a lot.”

Els (67) is chasing his fourth Alfred Dunhill title, while Molinari (69) has five wins in his last seven starts.

“I had my game out there. Tee to green I was really good,” Els said. “I’ve found a good rhythm and am hitting my driver well to put myself in good positions off the tees. It gave me good opportunities to go for the flags, and the greens here are perfect.”

Former champion Charl Schwartzel, first-rounder leader Ulrich van den Berg, Ariel Canete and Pelle Edberg were at 8 under, while defending champion Richard Sterne shot 66 to reach 6 under.

“I’m striking the ball better and have a lot of control over it,” Sterne said, “which I haven’t had for possibly a year now.”

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