Schwartzel set to end victory drought; Durban wash out in Euro Tour opener
December 8, 2012 -- Updated 0113 GMT (0913 HKT)
Charl Schwartzel plays a tee shot during his second round as he claimed the halfway lead at the Thailand Open.
- South African Charl Schwartzel leads at halfway in Thailand Championship
- Marcus Fraser a shot clear in Australian Open in Sydney
- Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa hit by flooding
- China's Shanshan Feng leads after three rounds of Dubai Ladies Masters
(CNN) -- Charl Schwartzel stayed on course to achieve his first win since claiming the 2011 U.S. Masters crown as he took a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Thailand Championship Friday.
The South African shot a seven under par 65 for a 14 under par 130 total at Amata Spring Country Club.
Daniel Chopra of Sweden carded a 67 for second place with Japan's Masanori Kobayashi a shot further back.
Rising Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa shot a fine 66 for 136 while this year's Masters champion Bubba Watson of the United States and Spain's Sergio Garcia were in the group on 138.
Schwartzel is hopeful of ending his 20-month victory drought, particularly as he has found form on the putting green.
Top golfers' expectations for 2013
Living Golf: Best of 2012
Europe's Medinah miracle
"It is still a long way to go. It's half the job done. From my side, I just have to keep playing," he told the official European Tour website.
"I've been reading them (putts) well. The stroke feels good. I've gone through a long two years where I've missed a lot of putts. A few goes in, it's nice."
Ryder Cup star Garcia had three birdies in his last five holes to take closer order in a high class field.
"I'm in a decent position," he said.
Meanwhile, Marcus Fraser carded a second straight three-under-par in the Australian Open in Sydney to take a one-shot lead at halfway.
The home hope leads fellow Australians Brendan Jones (71) and first-round leader John Senden, who were tied for second at The Lakes.
In-form Englishman Justin Rose was in a group tied for fifth at three under going into the weekend, while American legend Tom Watson carded a superb 68 Friday to make the cut by a stroke.
Watson is on the same mark as defending champion Greg Chalmers, who slipped back with a second round 75.
The opening event of the 2013 European Tour, the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship, has yet to get underway at Royal Durban in South Africa.
Heavy rainfall left the course flooded for the second straight day but organizers hope to get the delayed event started Saturday.
In the Dubai Ladies Masters, the concluding event of the Ladies European Tour, China's Shanshan Feng continued to lead the way after the third round.
She carded a 67 for 18-under-par at the Emirates Golf Club, but Dutch woman Dewi Claire Schreefel made inroads into her lead with a tournament record 63 to trail by five.
France's Gwladys Nocera was a shot back at 12-under, one ahead of Germany's Caroline Masson and Cindy Lacrosse of the United States.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.