Mount Juliet's Kevin Phelan carded a five-under-par 67 on Friday to lie just four shots off the lead in the Eye of Africa PGA Championship on the Sunshine Tour.
The former Walker Cup star made just one bogey and six birdies in a round that got underway late on the Eye of Africa layout following bad weather on the opening day.
“It’s a bit start-stop out there,” he said. “You kind of lose your rhythm a bit. But I feel like I played pretty well in each session, I guess. I just tried to get something going and then keep going. I’m not sure that getting round two done without any breaks necessarily helped me get the 67 today.
“It was very tidy out there. I didn’t really waste many shots. It was good. I just made the one bogey, when my hand slipped on the club on the seventh because of sweat, and then I couldn’t get it up and down.
“The course is really good. The greens are lovely – really smooth and with a nice pace. With the rain, the greens are pretty soft so you can be quite aggressive into almost all of the pins. There’s the odd one you have to stay away from, but by and large you can just go for it.”
Phelan played in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach and again in 2013 US Open Championship while still an amateur, making the cut at Merion Golf Club. Later that year he played in the Walker Cup and won two points from three, and made his professional debut in the KLM Open in September, again making the cut.
South Africa's Danie van Tonder shot a 66 to lead by one from compatriot Andrew Curlewis on 11 under par with be' Kruger and Jaco Van Zyl tied third on nine under.
Phelan was tied for seventh at halfway but Gavin Moynihan missed the cut by just two shots after battling back from an opening 77 with a solid 69.
Royal Dublin's Jeff Hopkins also missed out, following a 79 with a 72 to finish on seven over.