Golf-Bekker takes three shot lead in South African Open

SUN CITY, South Africa (Reuters) - Oliver Bekker moved from joint overnight leader into a three shot lead at the midway point of the South African Open after carding a second round 67 on Friday for a 12-under-par two-round total of 132.

Neil Schietekat, who was also on top of the leaderboard after the first round, now shares second place with Justin Harding on nine-under-par in a field of mostly local players.

The tournament was stripped of its status as a European Tour event last week with the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the subsequent travel ban on the region, which led to the mass withdrawal of foreign players.

The South African Open, hosted at Sun City this year, is among the oldest open golf championships.

Having first been played in 1903, it is the highlight of the Southern Africa-based Sunshine Tour and has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 1997.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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