Oliver Bekker shot a 10-under-par 62 on Friday to set a new course record at the Al Hamra Golf Club in the second round of the DP World Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic in the United Arab Emirates.
Bekker’s eagle, nine birdies and a single bogey catapulted him 102 places up the leaderboard at the halfway mark into a share of second. He was three shots off the pace which was set by first-round leader Ryan Fox of New Zealand, who added a three-under 69 to his opening 63.
It was a stark change of fortune for Bekker after his opening one-over-par 73. “I just played better,” said Bekker. “I was nowhere for some reason for the first eight holes yesterday. Then I started to play better, but I couldn’t score. Today I started off well and just kept on playing well.”
He started his round on the 10th, and he followed birdies on 12 and 13 with his eagle on the 14th. On that par-five, he hit a 321-yard drive, and a 266-yard approach to just inside 25 feet. He made the putt for eagle, and then picked up two more birdies ahead of the turn which he reached in 30. After picking up one of those on the 18th, he proceeded to make three in a row from the first, a bogey on five, and two more birdies on six and seven.
While he made a few good putts, it was the fact that he was hitting them close which helped him score so well. “I made two good ones on 12 and 14, 34 feet and 23 feet,” he said. “I also made a few nice six-10-foot putts as well. But I hit it really well and had lots of short birdie putts.”
Bekker felt that the course record is something that has been on the table since the previous DP World Tour tournament on the same course last week. “I was gunning for it last week as well,” he said. It definitely felt doable out here to be honest. If you make a few good putts out here you can go very low. I was very surprised by how badly I played yesterday.”
That’s behind him now as he heads into the weekend. He shares second with Justin Harding and Zander Lombard, amongst others. Harding had a five-under 67 in the second round which included a double-bogey as he moved to nine-under. Lombard had a dash at equalling Bekker’s new course record, but he found a greenside bunker on his closing hole, the ninth, and got up and down for par instead of having a birdie putt which would have given him a 10-under.
George Coetzee carded a four-under to move to six-under for the tournament, together with Daniel van Tonder in a share of 29th. Shaun Norris and Justin Walters were in a share of 42nd on five-under. Brandon Stone and Thriston Lawrence made the cut on the number on four-under.
Missing out on the action over the weekend were Richard Sterne, Jacques Kruyswijk and Darren Fichardt.