Noren has been in nothing short of sensational form over the past four months, picking up three European Tour titles and rampaging his way to fifth place in the Race to Dubai and 17th the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 34 year old continued that intimidating form at the Gary Player Country Club with a five under par 67 in round two for an eight under total which took him one shot clear of a chasing pack which contains three South Africans – George Coetzee, Louis Oosthuizen and Jaco Van Zyl – as well as Englishman Chris Wood and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.
Zanotti wrote himself into the Nedbank Golf Challenge history books during his second round 68 by becoming the first ever player to make a hole in one – a perfect seven iron from 210 yards on the par three fourth – in the event’s 36-year history.
Former Open champion Oosthuizen was also in imperious form as he produced the lowest round of the week so far with a brilliant 66 in tricky conditions to delight the home crowd.
“It was a little bit more up-and-down today,” said Noren who has already won twice this season, “I was maybe a little bit more solid yesterday. I made a lot of birdies on the back nine after that rain delay, which was great fun. I holed a chip, it was a good nine.
“I'm very pleased how I kept it together, because it is a tough golf course. A little bit of a wayward shot, and you can be in some difficult positions. I managed to chip-in, which always helps, and then make a birdie on 17, which is quite a tricky hole today. Overall, I'm very pleased.
“I know how tricky this game is, and I'm just trying to improve every day, every week. This week, you've got to work on some different stuff, there are tricky grass around the greens. So it's too much to focus on than just to focus on new targets, new goals and stuff.”
Scott Hend leads the Australians in a share of 13th position and six shots from the lead while Marcus Fraser is 49th and Nathan Holman 70th.
Leading 36 hole scores
136 A Noren (Swe) 69 67,
138 G Coetzee (RSA) 69 69, J Van Zyl (RSA) 69 69, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 72 66, C Wood (Eng) 69 69, F Zanotti (Par) 70 68,
139 A Cañizares (Esp) 71 68,
140 R Fisher (Eng) 68 72, M Southgate (Eng) 72 68, B Grace (RSA) 71 69,
141 J Wang (Kor) 68 73, A Sullivan (Eng) 72 69,
142 L Jensen (Den) 73 69, R Gouveia (Por) 74 68, S Hend (Aus) 71 71, B Dredge (Wal) 73 69,
143 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 76 67, H Stenson (Swe) 69 74, D Lingmerth (Swe) 71 72, F Aguilar (Chi) 68 75,
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