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1st March 2024

Brown beats the wind to lead SDC Championship

ST FRANCIS BAY (Eastern Cape) – It’s been a tale of two winds through 36 holes of this year’s SDC Championship at St Francis Links, and they’ve both blown favourably for England’s Daniel Brown as he heads into the weekend with a three-stroke lead in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event.

With the wind switching completely from the first round, Brown was still able to negotiate his way into the lead on 11 under par with a second round of 67.

It’s been a remarkable performance considering his late arrival to the tournament after missing his flight and going straight into this event without a practice round.

“I didn’t expect it. Maybe I should do it more often,” he said of his unusual preparation for this week.

His nearest challengers are South Africa’s Robin Williams and Shaun Norris on eight under par following their respective second rounds of 67 and 71.

The switch in wind caught many in the field off guard, with Pieter Moolman going from sharing the first-round lead to fighting to make the cut.

Even Brown had a double-bogey on his card on Friday. “It was a completely opposite wind so it took a bit of getting used to,” he said.

“Holes that were easy yesterday were really tricky today. As soon as you play two or three shots you realise it’s going to be a completely different challenge. I managed to scrap it around a bit in places and hang on. So you just take it one hole at a time and figure it out from there.”

Having been one shot off the lead going into the second round, Brown seemed to really click late on his second nine when he finished his day with an eagle and two birdies in his final four holes.

“I had a really good finish. I’ve played really good the last two days but something really clicked in that

stretch where I kept hitting it close which is nice.”

Brown enjoys the St Francis Links layout and finished in the top 10 in this tournament last year, and he’s looking forward to a weekend where he has a shot at a second DP World Tour title.

“Matt Baldwin (2023 champion) was miles ahead last year so there was no chance of catching him. I’ve always felt comfortable on this golf course so hopefully that continues into the weekend.”

Behind him, both Williams and Norris are equally confident of the challenge to come.

“I enjoy this course and I’m getting used to what I need to do to put myself in contention in these events. I’m playing good consistent golf so we’ll see where it puts us,” said Williams.

“It wasn’t easy out there and you needed a lot of patience, but it turned out nicely. The putter is working nicely so let’s see,” added Norris. – Michael Vlismas