Ockie Strydom carded a superb eight-under-par 63 on Friday at Dainfern Golf Estate to open up a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Sunshine Tour’s Stella Artois Players Championship.
Strydom made an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey to move to 13-under-par 129 at the 36-hole mark of the tournament. He was clear of Jaco Ahlers, who missed out picking up a birdie or better on the closing par-five 18th, but who scored a four-under 67 to move to 11-under for the tournament.
Behind Ahlers, Keith Horne also carded an eight-under 63 to move to 10-under and a share of third with defending champion Jaco Prinsloo, who had a six-under 65.
Strydom started his round on the 10th, and got into his stride immediately with birdies on the 10th and 11th. He made another on the 13th, and again on the 17th, before picking up his eagle on the 18th. That was far and away the easiest hole on the course on the day, producing 10 eagles and 64 birdies between the 128 players in the field. He made birdies on one and two immediately after the turn, but dropped a shot on the par-three sixth. He closed out his round with a final birdie on the ninth.
Forst-round leader Madalitso Muthiya of Zambia returned a one-under-par 70 in his second round, moving to nine-under for the tournament and a share of fifth with JJ Senekal, who had a seven-under 64, and Jared Harvey who carded a four-under 67.
Strydom, who has five top-10s to his name in the current Sunshine Tour season, is looking for a win to go with his only victory on the tour so far. That came in 2019 in the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Sishen. He finished runner-up there again in August last year.
That he has the tools to keep going low is very clear: He leads the tour in the birdie count this season, with an astonishing 391 in 86 rounds. With Dainfern offering so many opportunities, he’ll be the man to watch over the final two days.