By Michael Vlismas
Finishing with two bogeys in the last three holes normally goes against the grain for golfers, but the nature of the modified stableford scoring system means it was worth the risk for Stephen Ferreira and did not cost him the lead at the end of the second round of the Blue Label Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday.
Ferreira still posted an excellent 13 points on Thursday, via a five-under-par 67, and he is two points clear of Jbe’ Kruger.
Up until his dropped shots on the par-three 16th and the par-five 18th, the 30-year-old Zimbabwe resident, who plays under the Portuguese flag, was unstoppable with five birdies and an eagle-three, worth five points, on the fifth hole.
“I’m very happy, I felt good today and played really solid golf and sank a few putts,” Ferreira said. “I was aggressive and smart.”
“My first bogey was because I took the wrong club on the par-three and was in the wrong place in the bunker and couldn’t get up-and-down. On the last hole, I had 230 to the flag and had a go because a bogey is only minus-one. It was a risky shot and I didn’t quite pull it off, but in this format, every now and then you have to take a risk.
“But on five I hit a good tee-shot in the middle of the fairway, had 237 to the flag and knew exactly which club to use, a nice floating five-wood to 10 feet and then I made the putt,” Ferreira said.
The runner-up three weeks ago in the SunBet Challenge Wild Coast event said he was grateful for Zambian golfer Madalitso Muthiya bailing him out of a putting problem he had.
“I’ve felt I’ve been playing really good golf but I just haven’t been getting a score, and that’s down to not making putts. We’re all good golfers out here, we all hit the ball well, all hit good irons, so putting is what makes the difference,” Ferreira said.
“My friend Madalitso helped me tweak something small with my putting and now I’m putting nicely.”
Kruger also notched 13 points, via seven birdies, on Thursday, only once landing in trouble when he bogeyed the par-four fourth hole.
First-round leader Brooklin Bailey dropped out of the leadership race as he scored minus-nine on Thursday, with three double-bogeys and just two birdies on his card.