Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen carded a bogey-free 66 to take a one-shot advantage at the top of a congested leaderboard following the second round of the European Tour’s South African Open on Friday.

Just three shots separate the first 22 players at the halfway point of the championship, with Pulkkanen alone at the summit on 11 under par after he managed five birdies on a tougher scoring day for the 240-strong field.

At one point there was a seven-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Randpark Golf Club. Pulkkanen is seeking a first win on tour, but will have to fight off a sizeable chasing pack if he is to be victorious in Johannesburg.

Englishman Sam Horsfield (68) is one of five players a shot back, in a group that includes home amateur Jayden Trey Schaper (67), and the South African trio of Thriston Lawrence (65), Jaco Ahlers (66) and Trevor Fisher Jnr (67).

Overnight leader Johannes Veerman from the United States could only manage a par 71 on Friday following his superb 62 in his opening round, and is two shots off the pace.

Former Open winner and defending champion Louis Oosthuizen (69) is on eight under par for the tournament and part of a big group of players who will hope to make a move on the weekend.

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