‘Mr 56’ Burke takes 36-hole lead at ERPM

Amateur Christiaan Burke finished with a flourish on Tuesday in the second round of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour #29 at ERPM Golf Club as he carded a four-under-par 68 to take the 36-hole lead.

He went birdie-eagle-birdie over the closing three holes to take a one-stroke lead over fellow amateur Casey Jarvis, who signed for a level-par 72 to remain at five-under for the tournament.

Burke battled over the front nine with two bogeys and a birdie, before racing through the back nine in five-under. “It wasn’t so much that the course was difficult,” said Burke, “but the greens were very hard, so it was difficult to fire at the flags.”

Firing at the flags is, of course, what Burke does best. He recently fired a 16-under-par 66 at his home club, Potchefstroom Country Club, with four eagles and eight birdies on that card.

And that kind of form started coming to him on the homeward none at ERPM. “I missed two short birdie putts on 10 and 11,” he said, “and I made a good up-and-down for par on 12. I had a two-putt birdie on the par-five 13th, and then I missed a short birdie putt on 15.

“But after that, it all came together. I had a 20-footer for birdie on 16, and on the 17th and 18th, I hit it inside a foot both times for eagle and then birdie. On the par-five 17th, I hit a good drive and only had 128 in with a wedge.”

Behind Burke and Jarvis, another amateur, Juan Diedericks, was one of a group of five players on four-under-par in a share of third. With him were Ryan van Velzen, Siyanda Mwandla, Jason Froneman and first-round leader Kyle McClatchie.

For Burke, it’s a question of resetting himself for the final round. “It’s no good living on the memories of the 56,” he said. “I have to take the momentum from my back nine and keep that going if I want to win the tournament.”

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