Cruise-control Coetzee eases into 3-shot lead in Stellenbosch

For the second time in two days, George Coetzee made an early bogey which hardly put a dent in his scoring as he carded a second-round six-under-par 66 on Thursday to go three shots clear at the top of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at De Zalze Golf Estate.

Starting his round on the 10th, he made pars on his first two holes before dropping a shot on the par-three 12th. He quickly made up for that with a birdie on 13, and another on 18 saw him turn at one-under, before heading for home with five birdies in his closing nine as he finished up at 15-under through 36 holes, with Pieter Moolman in second on 12-under after his second round of seven-under-par 65.

Coetzee started his homeward nine slowly, making pars on one and two, before he made five birdies in his next six holes to grab the tournament by the scruff of its neck as it heads into its final round tomorrow. He will know that if he can continue with even a semblance of his current form, and perhaps add birdies on the two par-fives on the back nine where he missed out in the second round, he will be tough to beat.

Long-shot candidates to perhaps chase him down include Moolman, who, like Coetzee, had a bogey in his second round, but after dropping that shot on the second, he made four birdies before the turn, and then was bogey-free after the turn with four more birdies.

Also shooting a seven-under 65 in the second round was Tristen Strydom, who didn’t drop a single shot in that effort as he moved into a share of third with Desne van den Bergh, who carded a five-under 67 to share third with Strydom at 10-under, five off the lead.

The man who won the Sunshine Tour’s last tournament before the two-month winter break was Alex Haindl, and he also fired a seven-under 65 in the third round. He was the third man in a share of third with Strydom and Van den Bergh.

There was one other 65 on the day, and that came from lefty Luke Jerling, who contracted COVID-19 during the break in action, and battled to a one-over 73 in his opening round. He went on a scoring spree on the back nine with six birdies to come home in 30.

One man who looked as if he could head Coetzee after the second round was Jaco Ahlers. He also started his round on the 10th, made an early birdie on the 11th, and then picked up four birdies to place himself solidly in contention. But another bogey on the first immediately after the turn, and a near-calamitous triple-bogey eight on the part-five sixth saw him scrambling to rescue his round. He duly did so with consecutive closing birdies on eight and nine for a one-under 71. That put him in a share of seventh.

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