By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)
Philip Geerts will take a slender one-shot lead into the final round of the Altron Big Easy Tour event at Waterkloof Golf Club, thanks to a four-under 68 second round which took his total to 12-under on Wednesday.
Having played many times here as a kid, Geerts used his knowledge of this track to good effect on moving day, making six birdies and two bogeys to pull a shot clear of the chasing Werner Deyzel.
“I’ve been playing here since I was a child and I know this course better than most courses I have played,” revealed Geerts. “But, beyond that, I think I have stuck to my game plan pretty well. I have played well this week and my caddie and I have been feeling good on the course. As I said yesterday, the key here is staying calm and in the moment and I think I did that very well today.
“It seemed to me that they tried to set the course up to be as difficult as possible and the rough is quite thick around the greens and they put some really tough pin positions. That makes things difficult but you always want to be on the right side of the hole because I have seen players hit great shots in but still make bogeys. So, a solid game plan is the key around here; to know where to miss it and those kinds of things. Otherwise, the course is very generous off the tee.”
Happy as Geerts is with his performance here after 36 holes, he is fully aware that with the quality of the field in this week’s tournament, a win will not be handed to him on a silver platter. Deyzel has already tasted victory this season and will want to make it two wins this season. And, trailing by just one shot ahead of the final round, he will fancy his chances.
“I’m very excited to get going tomorrow because I have not been in this position for a while,” said Geerts of the final round. “But I have been playing good golf. I just feel like I have not been capitalising on the chances I’ve created for myself in tournaments. It feels like this week things are coming together.
“I know I can’t get too excited. I want to try and stay calm and keep it shot-by-shot and see what happens in the end.”
Deyzel’s 65 on day two catapulted him to second on 11-under and, he too, is familiar with this golf course.
“I was a member here when I was younger and my dad still is,” Deyzel said, “and I know the greens here well. The greens are receptive but it was tough for me today with the tricky flags because you’d hit a perfect shot and the ball spins back. So, I’m happy I managed to get a low one.
“Today I was hitting it just as well as I did yesterday,” Deyzel said, “but, I still missed some short putts. So, tomorrow I will have to keep my game simple; hit greens and make putts. The experience I have around the greens here helps and I hope I can get another low one tomorrow.”
Deyzel is a shot clear of Conner McKenzie following the latter’s near-perfect 66 while Reece McKain and Samuel Simpson are a short further on nine-under for the week. They share the fourth spot.
Veteran campaigner Andrew McLardy rolled back the years with a blemish-free 65 to get to eight-under and in a share of sixth. McLardy will relish the opportunity to challenge for honours once more, having claimed victories on the Sunshine Tour before.
This 54-hole event is the ninth tournament of the regular season of the Sunshine Tour feeder circuit.