Larrazabal leads by three at European Tour season opener

Pablo Larrazabal of Spain tees off during the third round of the German Open golf tournament. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

MALELANE, South Africa — Pablo Larrazabal opened a healthy three-shot lead after two rounds of the European Tour’s season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on Friday.

The Spaniard carded a 69 to go 9 under par overall and ahead of first-round leader Wil Besseling (73) and home favourite Branden Grace (70).

Larrazabal was one of just five players to break 70 on a hot, windy day at Leopard Creek Country Club.

Larrazabal had a run of four straight birdies from Nos. 10-13 to respond to a double bogey on the par-3 No. 7 when he sent his tee shot right of the green and into the water. The birdie on No. 12 came when Larrazabal holed a 100-foot putt from one end of the green to the other.

Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., shot 76 and was 4 over after two rounds, missing the cut of 3 over. Cockerill was playing his first tournament as a full member of the European Tour.

This is the first European Tour event to allow players to wear shorts during the tournament because of the heat but Larrazabal declined to take advantage of that in the first two rounds, saying he felt more like he meant business in trousers.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.