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Three way tie at Volvo Golf Champions

(Photo: Getty Images)
An albatross on the par fifth tenth hole at Durban Country Club helped Dutchman Joost Luiten into a share of the halfway lead in the Volvo Golf Champions alongside defending champion Louis Oosthuizen and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.

Luiten holed his second shot after the turn with a four iron from 248 yards "“ the first albatross on The European Tour since Chris Doak's in the Madeira Islands Open last season - en route to a second round 67 as he moved to seven under par for the tournament in South Africa.

It was the first albatross his of career and also helped Luiten and playing partners Dawie Van der Walt and amateur Enrique Vilchis Calderon win a Volvo V40 cross-country as the leading time in the "˜Playing with the Pros' finale to Volvo World Golf Challenge.

"I hit a four iron and basically went straight at it, and it just pitched exactly where I wanted," he said, "I wanted it just to the front of the green, and then hopefully to release up the slope and that's what it did. It went straight at the pin and it went in. It was a good feeling.

"At seven under for the tournament, I'm in a great position for the weekend and I just need to keep on playing. It's very tough out there. You just need to make pars and sometimes you have to sneak in a birdie or an albatross - that will help."

Home favourite Oosthuizen carded four birdies and one bogey over the first ten holes before ending with eight consecutive pars as the former Open Champion signed for a three under par 69 to boost his hopes of retaining the title he won at the same venue 12 months ago.

He said: "The golf course was completely different than yesterday. It was probably a bit tougher. I was holing out a lot of good par putts and had a few good chips to save my pars, but that's what you have to do to stay up there. I still feel good heading into the weekend, so I just need to play a little bit better tomorrow."

Fleetwood, who earned his place in the 36-man field for the European Tour's "˜tournament of champions' by winning the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last August, posted a round of 67.

The 23 year old said he had been itching to get back into action after the Christmas break, and he has been pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the return has gone thus far.

"I struggle to take time off," he said. "I struggled to rest and just felt like time was ticking away. But I realised how much I missed playing golf and how much I enjoy it. All this week, I've been absolutely made up to be out here and been made up to be playing and practising and playing my game and looking forward again. I had no expectations. My expectations have been really low, and all that put together has worked and hopefully I can keep it going over the weekend."

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is a shot behind the leading trio on six under par following a an up and down round of 69 that included an eagle three on the third hole, five birdies, two bogeys and double bogey seven on the eighth hole.

Italian Matteo Manassero also moved into contention in fifth position on five under par with a round of 67, while former Open Champion Darren Clarke (71) and joint overnight leader Raphaël Jacquelin of France (73) share sixth on four under par.

Meanwhile, it was a strange day for Ireland's Padraig Harrington who lost his caddie Ronan Flood to illness on the sixth hole, and had to turn to the services of compatriot Pat Cashman, a photographer for the Golfing Union of Ireland, who happened to be in the crowd watching. The three-time Major Champion eventually carded a round of 71 and is five shots back in a share of 11th position.

Brett Rumford is the only Australian in the field and is in a share of 15th position.

Complete second round scores from the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club (par 72)

137 J Luiten (Ned) 70 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 67, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 68 69,
138 V Dubuisson (Fra) 69 69,
139 M Manassero (Ita) 72 67,
140 D Clarke (Nir) 69 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 67 73,
141 B Grace (RSA) 74 67, M Siem (Ger) 70 71, C Wood (Eng) 70 71,
142 D Van Der Walt (RSA) 71 71, J Donaldson (Wal) 71 71, P Harrington (Irl) 71 71, S Thornton (Irl) 70 72,
143 C Schwartzel (RSA) 74 69, B Rumford (Aus) 73 70,

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