By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)
Uitenhage Golf Club member Allister de Kock was all smiles after his second-round six-under-par 66 catapulted him to a share of the lead on 11-under ahead of the final round of the Altron Big Easy Tour season-opener at Randpark Golf Club on Wednesday.
He shares the lead with forst-round leader Leon Vorster, whose second round of 68 helped him maintain his position atop the leaderboard.
De Kock had every reason to smile. The Sunshine Tour campaigner had a dream start on the Bushwillow course, rattling in two eagles and a birdie in his first three holes. His impressive start was brought to an immediate halt thanks to back-to-back bogeys on four and five. A birdie on six brought much-needed confidence after those drops but the soon-to-be 40-year-old suffered another setback, with an unwanted bogey on the seventh.
De Kock made pars on eight and nine to turn in 33 and those steadied him as he headed to the back nine. There, he made birdies on 10 and 12 before dropping on 15. Once more, the experienced De Kock had to dig deep to make any headway and he was duly rewarded as he closed off with a pair of birdies on 17 and 18 and sealed a round of 66 to get into contention.
“You’ve got two par-fives on the first three holes and I knew I had to make birdies on those,” said De Kock. “I didn’t expect to start the way I did. But I don’t know what is it about golf; when you start playing well, you get a bit nervous. But I also know that this is not an easy game and sometimes you will make mistakes, so I am very happy with how I started and finished the second round.
“I am really happy with where my game is, at the moment. But mostly, I am happy that I am in contention to do something in the final round. This course is tough but if you’re accurate and finding fairways, you should be able to score well and I hope tomorrow I can replicate some of the form I’ve shown in the last couple of days.”
En route to his 68, Vorster made four birdies, an eagle and two drops as he sought to create some distance between himself and the chasing pack. The Vryburg Golf Club player, however, felt as though he could have done a little bit more to sign for an even better score on Wednesday.
“Overall, I think I played well but I made some mistakes I shouldn’t have,” admitted Vorster. “But I have learned that those are part of the game and you just have to take them and move on. I would have liked to finish better today but I felt like I gave it a good fight. I was very pleased with my iron-play because I didn’t miss many fairways, even though I didn’t make a lot of putts. Hopefully, they will start dropping tomorrow.”
Ricky Hendler and Nicholaus Frade were among some of the biggest movers on moving day, with the pair climbing up to a share of third on the leaderboard, courtesy of rounds of 67 each. They were nine-under and two shots behind the lead. Slade Pickering’s 66 on day two helped him to a tournament total of eight-under and fifth on the leaderboard.