Oosthuizen Takes over Top Spot in Volvo Golf Champions

Louis Oosthuizen followed up his opening 68 with an 8-under 64 to assume the lead at the halfway point of the Volvo Golf Champions. The European Tour event, reserved only for winners from the previous year, started Thursday at Durban Country Club in Durban, South Africa.

The 30-year-old Oosthuizen, a native of Mossel Bay, South Africa, carded five birdies on the front nine and three more on the back to reach 12-under 132, one stroke ahead of first-round leader Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (68) and Scotsman Scott Jamieson (64).

The next-closest players are at 5-under 139. The group includes Danny Willett (70), Paul Lawrie (70), Jeev Milkha Singh (70), Thomas Bjorn (70), Shane Lowry (69) and Julien Quesne (67).

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, was pleased with his performance Friday. "Today I was much better with my ball-striking, I hit the ball really well and I putted beautifully," he said.

"I seemed to have the speed on the greens so I'm able to make more longer putts than usual. It's always nice when you know the putter is working."

Oosthuizen added that the wet weather that came through the course halfway through the round really didn't affect him. "The rain picked up when we were on the eighth and it was just a bit different, but only for a few holes then it left. I actually played really well in the rain, I made two birdies on eight and nine."

Other scores included a 72 by crowd favorite, Ernie Els, which put him at 140 along with Francesco Molinari (70) and Nicolas Colsaerts, who shot a 67 after opening with a 73.

In the opening round, Colsaerts, called the "Belgian Bomber" for his prodigious tee shots, pounded a 419-yard drive on Durban's par-5 third hole that caused his playing partner, Els - who could also pound the ball in his younger days - to quip: "I've been coming here since 1986 and I've never seen a ball there - nobody has. They should put a plaque down. I was coming from a different zip code. And I've got to compete against these animals!"

Colsaerts is one of the European Tour regulars - others include Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood - who'll be devoting most of his competitive energies to the PGA Tour in 2013.

For complete scoring details of the Volvo Golf Champions, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013003/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.