JOHANNESBURG — Swedish golfer Jesper Svensson will take a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the South African Open Championship after shooting a 5-under 67.

Svensson made seven birdies along with two bogeys in Friday’s second round to move to the top ahead of overnight leader and countryman Joakim Lagergren (71), Italy’s Matteo Manassero (68) and home favorite Casey Jarvis (70).

“To lead feels great. We’re halfway through and I’m happy to be in a good position,” the 344th-ranked Svensson said. “I had some bogeys coming in and it felt good to come back with a birdie, (so) I’m happy.”

Only one player in the top 100 in the rankings is in the field, No. 85 Thriston Lawrence of South Africa. Lawrence (71) is tied for 26th at six shots back.

The tournament is the second of three straight events in South Africa to open the 2024 season on the European tour. The first was the Joburg Open, won by home player Dean Burmester last week.

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