Louis de Jager holds lead at 12-under at Kenya Open


Home field advantage just might help Louis de Jager to his first European Tour victory.

The South African enjoys a commanding four-shot lead after 36 holes of the $1.2 million Magical Kenya Open at Karen Country Club in Kenyan capital Nairobi. A second-round, 5-under-par 66 moved him to 12-under.

Joint first-round leader Jack Singh Brar shares second place on 8-under with Spain’s Adri Arnaus after a 1-under 70.

De Jager had seven birdies on his card and could have been further ahead if not for two dropped shots in four holes from the first. The 31-year-old has five wins on his home Sunshine Tour in South Africa, including this year’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship. No wonder he’s enjoying the European Tour’s foray into his home continent.

“”I told the guys when we played a practice round on Tuesday, after the desert, you could feel you were in Africa, back in our continent,” de Jager said. “You get used to the feel of the Kikuyu grass, and the ball travels the same as back home in Pretoria, distance wise, so it really feels like we’re back home.

“My game plan over the weekend is not to be too aggressive. The most important thing is hitting the fairways and hitting the greens because the greens are quite small. If you hit the greens you’ve always got a good birdie chance here.”

Singh Brar would be closer to the top of the leaderboard if he could have kept his game just a little bit tighter.

“It was a bit of an up and down round today, a bit of a mixed bag,” the Englishman said. “I had a couple of good opportunities early doors and then missed a good birdie chance on nine which stunted my movement a little bit, then I was a bit scruffy on the back nine.

“I’m still in a good position, and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

The man de Jager and Singh Brar might need to fear most is last week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters winner– Justin Harding. The World No. 52 is just five shots off the lead in a tie for fourth place at 7-under.

“I was a little bit more aggressive today as you have to get it in close here as it can be awkward in places,” the South African said.

“You have to pick and choose your moments here and I did that well out there. I have been trying to make less mistakes recently and I went over the green just once today – that wasn’t the case yesterday – so I am really happy with my performance.”

Harding is averaging 66.5 on Sundays during this season’s European Tour, so he might be the man to beat over the weekend.

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