SUN CITY, South Africa – Angel Cabrera shot an 8-under-par 64 to set a course record and take a two-stroke lead Friday in the Nedbank Challenge.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, the leader after the first round, shot a 70 to stand second.

American Jim Furyk and Englishman Luke Donald were three strokes behind. Furyk had a 70 and Donald a 68.

Cabrera broke the course record of 66 set by Furyk in this tournament a year ago.

South African Ernie Els, playing his first tournament in 41/2 months because of a knee injury, was seven shots back after a 70.

One of the longest hitters in golf, Argentina’s Cabrera unleashed a 390-yard drive on the 14th hole during a round of nine birdies and a bogey at the 7,832-yard Gary Player Country Club.

“It’s a course I really like because I play the driver well,” Cabrera said. “I can use the driver on almost every hole.”

Cabrera birdied Nos. 1, 2 and 5 before launching an unbroken string of birdies from 9 to 12. He then hit the towering drive at 14 to get another birdie, and added one more on 15.

“The 14th is downhill,” shrugged Cabrera as he discussed his round.

He showed his power again on his second shot, using an 8-iron for his 197-yard approach.

He also putted well, with many of his birdies coming from 10 feet and more.

“To putt well, you have to hit the ball close to the pin first,” he said.

Clarke’s game started to unravel at the short, par-3 12th, when he left his tee shot 40 yards short of the pin in a grassy depression. Although he was able to chip close for a par, he lost the rhythm and touch that characterized his opening-round 67.

His drive at 13 was nearly out of bounds, and he scrambled his way to a bogey – his first dropped stroke of the tournament. From that point, his sure touch around the fringe and his putting deserted him.

“I played a bit conservatively to consolidate my good round yesterday,” Clarke said. “But tomorrow, I’m going to have to wear a skirt and play off the ladies’ tees if I want to match Angel.”

Rain forces suspension of second round at Coolum

COOLUM, Australia – Heavy rains suspended play at the Australian PGA Championship for the second straight day Friday, with only two players finishing the second round.

Only 11 players finished their opening rounds Thursday, and Friday’s restart was delayed 90 minutes because of heavy rain. The second round was to resume Saturday morning.

At the end of the first round, Richard Swift led at 5-under 67, one shot clear of a group of five fellow Australians, including Robert Allenby, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne last week, and Craig Parry.

Gibson leads at Hong Kong Open

HONG KONG – Canada’s Rick Gibson birdied five holes Friday for a one-stroke lead, and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie shot a 4-under 66 to pull within four strokes after two rounds of the Hong Kong Open.

Gibson, at 9-under 131, was one stroke ahead of American Edward Loar, who had eight birdies with two bogeys for a 6-under 64.

Martin Erlandsson of Sweden was two strokes back at 7-under, while first-round leader Kang Wook-soon of South Korea dropped three strokes back after finishing Friday’s round at even par. Andrew Butterfield of England shot a 5-under 65 and was tied with Kang at 6-under.

Montgomerie was among five golfers at 5-under, including Australia’s Scott Strange, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, Australia’s Marcus Both and France’s Francois Delamontagne.

Gibson, whose last victory was at the Philippine Open in 2002, said wasn’t worried about Montgomerie.

“He’s the highest-ranked player here,” Gibson said. “He’s probably going to be in the mix on Sunday. I don’t think he’s won here yet, so all I can do is play my game.”

Miyazato pulls away at LPGA qualifying

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ai Miyazato made four birdies in a six-hole stretch and escaped with par on her final hole for a 2-under 70, giving the Japanese dynamo a seven-shot lead Friday with two rounds remaining in the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

Miyazato barely cleared the hazard on the 18th green on the Legends course at LPGA International, then chipped off a bare patch of grass to 20 feet and holed the par putt to finishing three rounds at 11-under 205.

She was seven shots clear of Katie Futcher (69), Louise Stahle (69) and Lee Ann Walker-Cooper (74), with top threat Morgan Pressel nowhere in sight.

Pressel, the 17-year-old who tied for second in the U.S. Women’s Open, struggled to her second straight round of 75 and was tied for 11th at even-par 216, 11 shots behind Miyazato. Suddenly, the more important number to Pressel was the cutoff for getting a card, and she was only two shots clear with two days left.

Brittany Lang, who tied with Pressel as runner-up at Cherry Hills, also shot 75 and was at 217.

This week has turned into the Miyazato show, complete with some five dozen reporters and photographers following her every move at LPGA International.

Miyazato already is a star in Japan, having won six times on the Japan LPGA Tour this year and commanding higher TV ratings than the men’s tour, even when Tiger Woods is playing.


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