Pablo Larrazabal holds a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Alfred Dunhill Championship after carding 69 on day two at Leopard Creek Country Club.

The Spaniard hit a six-under-par 66 in his first round in South Africa, and six birdies on Friday ensured he moved three shots clear of overnight leader Will Besseling and home favourite Branden Grace.

It was not all smooth sailing for Larrazabal, who double-bogeyed the seventh with a tee shot that landed in the water, though four successive birdies on the back nine gave him the edge.

His run on the back nine included a remarkable, 100-foot putt from the edge of the green on the 12th.

“It was a good job, it wasn’t an easy day,” said Larrazabal, who did not take up the chance to wear shorts in sweltering conditions at Leopard Creek, in quotes reported on the European Tour’s official website.

“The wind was swirling around and gusting and this golf course was tough. I made a big mistake on the seventh, I didn’t trust what my game plan was, but I was playing good enough to start making birdies again and that’s what I did.

“I had a lot of patience out there. I know I’m playing good, I know I’m playing aggressive enough to make birdies and get on a run. If you have patience out there the putts are going to drop, they did drop today and I’m happy with a 69.”

South African Grace, who has won four European Tour titles on home soil, and triumphed at Leopard Creek in 2014, hit 70, while Basseling bounced back from three bogeys with two birdies to stay in the mix.

Grace’s compatriot Thomas Aiken shares fourth place with English duo Jack Singh Brar and Marcus Armitage. Eddie Pepperell – the highest-ranked player in the competition – is tied for 28th after carding a par 73.