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Branden Grace shines at Glendower before bad weather stops play

Luke Walker/Getty Images

Branden Grace justified his position as pre-tournament favourite before bad weather disrupted play for the second day running in the South African Open in Johannesburg.

Grace was two over par after three holes of his opening round before recovering to card a 69 and the world No.14 -- the highest ranked player in the field -- carried on where he left off on Friday.

The 27-year-old fired four birdies in a row from the second at Glendower Golf Club and bounced back from a bogey on the sixth by picking up further shots on the 10th and 11th shortly before play was suspended at 3pm local time due to the threat of lightning.

No further play was possible, leaving Grace to share the lead with compatriot Keith Horne on eight under par as South African players occupied 11 of the top 13 places on the leaderboard.

Horne, who set the clubhouse target after adding a 69 to his opening 67, said: "I didn't necessarily play as well as yesterday but the big thing was that I made no bogeys, which helps.

"I had some pretty poor chips and putts on the par fives; I parred all of them today which is frustrating because they are the scoring holes, but I had some really good saves on the other holes to keep my momentum going."

England's Ross McGowan was the best-placed non-South African, the world No.317 sharing fourth place on six under after three birdies and one bogey in a round of 70.

McGowan won the Madrid Masters in 2009 but lost his card in 2011 before regaining it last November by finishing fifth in the qualifying school in Spain.

"My game has been a bit streaky the last couple of years, just trying to find a bit of form again," the 33-year-old said. "It's back to business now, getting myself back up into the top 100, top 50 in the world and hopefully progress further from there.

"The world ranking points this week are very good so it would be a great start to the year so early in January and hopefully kick on from there."

Defending champion Andy Sullivan was facing an anxious wait to see if he would make the cut after adding a 72 to his opening 75 -- which included four-putting the 17th -- to remain three over par.

That was two shots outside the projected cut when the world No.34 signed his card, although the cut had moved to two over before the players were called off the course.

Overnight leader Jaco van Zyl, who has won 13 times on the Sunshine Tour but is still seeking a first European Tour title, had fallen five shots off the pace after following an early birdie with three bogeys and a double bogey on the 10th, where his approach from the fairway found the water short of the green.

Tournament host Ernie Els was three over par with eight holes remaining, with play scheduled to resume at 0630 local time on Saturday.