Updated: Saturday, 11 January 2014 00:46 | By Agence France-Presse

Luiten in joint lead in Durban after albatross

Dutchman Joost Luiten carded an albatross to rocket into contention at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Volvo Golf Champions event in Durban, South Africa on Friday.

Luiten in joint lead in Durban after albatross

Joost Luiten chips on to the 7th hole during the first day of the Portugal Masters at Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, southern Portugal, on October 10, 2013

Luiten, who sits just outside the automatic Ryder Cup places for the European team after winning the KLM Open on home soil last year, holed his second shot to the 560-yard par-five 10th hole.

It was the first albatross of the season so far and helped him to a round of 67 which leaves him seven under par going into the weekend and level with England's Tommy Fleetwood and defending champion Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the leaderboard.

Fleetwood also shot a 67, while Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, carded a solid 69 on the par-72 Durban Country Club layout.

But Luiten's spectacular approach to the 10th took the headlines as he holed his second shot with a 4 iron from 248 yards for an albatross, something that happened just once on the European Tour in the whole of the 2013 season.

"Yeah, (it was) my first albatross," he said. "I hit a four iron and basically went straight at it, just pitched exactly where I wanted, just front of the green, and then it hopefully released up the slope and that's what it did. 

"It went straight at the pin and it went in so, yeah, it was a good feeling. I am seven under for the tournament, and in a great position for the weekend."

Promising Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is alone at six under par, one shot off the pace, after an eventful second-round 69 which featured an eagle at the par-five third, a double bogey at the par-five eighth, and five birdies on the back nine.

Italian youngster Matteo Manassero had seven birdies and a double bogey en route to a 69 which leaves him at five under, while overnight leader Raphael Jacquelin had a tougher day, despite the markedly calmer conditions compared to the strong winds of Thursday.

The Frenchman shot a 73 to slip three shots off the pace going into the weekend.

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