While he dropped three shots on Friday, in fact it was more of the same for Jacques Blaauw as his three-under-par 69 in windy conditions kept him on top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Bains’s Whisky Cape Town Open at Royal Cape Golf Club.
In fact, he shared the lead with Jeong Weon Ko, the Frenchman out of South Korea, who had a blistering opening nine of seven-under 29 on his way to an eight-under 64 and nine-under for the tournament at the halfway mark. He and Blaauw led by one from New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier, who, like Blaauw, signed for a 69.
“The wind is why I moved from Cape Town,” laughed Blaauw. “It certainly was very tough today, and the wind certainly was the cause of my first bogey on the 10th, when I just wasn’t able to get my approach right. But I’m pleased with the way I held things together, and was able to make six birdies in difficult conditions.”
Again, it was the return to the familiar swing, forgoing the desire for more speed to get more distance, which was responsible for a degree of dependability for Blaauw in the face of the challenge posed by the wind. “I found I was able to rely on my tees shots to a greater extant than I have been recently,” he said.
His first round – certainly the back nine – was characterised by brilliant putting. He had 11 putts on that nine yesterday, and he had just 13 putts on his closing nine again in the second round, from 10 to 18. “I did putt well,” Blaauw conceded, “but that figure is probably a little misleading, as I spent a lot of time having to get up and down because the wind was making approaches difficult.
“I had two good chances on my last two holes, on eight and nine. I left the one on eight short, and the one on nine just lipped out. But I must say, the putter has been very good so far this week.”
Ko opened with five consecutive birdies as he raced up the leaderboard, and he made two more on seven and nine. Things quietened down substantially on the homeward nine, although he birdied the par-five 11th and the par-four 12th. A bogey on the 14th slowed down his rush towards a possible 59, and he parred his way home for his 64.
Behind Hillier on a cosmopolitan leaderboard – which, unusually for local tournament such as this, features only one other South African in the top 10 in Neil Schietekat at six-under in a share of sixth – is a pair of Danes on seven-under in a share of fourth. The big-hitting Niklas Norgaard Moller carded a four-under 68, and Martin Simonsen a two-under 70. With Schietekat in sixth are Spaniards Santiago Tarrio and Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Swede Mikael Lindberg and Italy’s Aron Zemmer.
For Blaauw, it’s a case of more of the same for the weekend. “Just keep bogeys off the card,” he said.