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17th March 2023

Brun beats wind to lead SDC Championship

ST FRANCIS BAY (Eastern Cape) – Julien Brun took the window of opportunity he was given and claimed the clubhouse lead in Friday’s second round of the SDC Championship before the wind suddenly turned and play was suspended at St Francis Links.

The wind of Thursday forced the first round to be completed on Friday morning and with no change to the shared lead held by David Ravetto and Kristian Krogh Johannessen.

On a beautiful Friday morning with only a slight breeze, Brun then went out and put together a solid 67 for the lead on eight under par. One shot behind him, the trio of England’s Matthew Baldwin (67), South Africa’s Albert Venter (67) and Swede Jens Dantorp also took their morning chance and climbed to seven under overall. Dantorp did so with an impressive 63 that by Friday afternoon made it seem like he was playing another tournament.

And as the flags suddenly changed direction, so did the afternoon’s play.

According to DP World Tour Senior Referee Kevin Feeney, the severe wind gusts forced the suspension of play at just before 14:00. It was later decided at 16:15 to call off play altogether and resume at 7am on Saturday.

“We had gusts of up to 65 kilometres per hour on the back nine and up to 70 kilometres per hour on the front nine. We’ve just been very unlucky in what is a fabulous spot. We’ll restart on Saturday morning, in position, at 7am.”

The sudden change in conditions has made for interesting adjustments by the professionals, with even Brun admitting he found it difficult.

“This morning was the first time I’ve played this course without wind this week. It was definitely a lot more receptive so you could make more birdies and have more fun out there. But it’s extremely tricky. First off, you have to recover and get the energy back from a very long and tiring first round in that wind. Then your swing is also messed up because you have to go back to playing normal shots without the wind. I struggled with that adjustment to my game. It’s a big mental test.”

Behind him, Venter had a day where he followed up a double-bogey six on the 11th hole with five birdies in six holes as he took advantage of the easier morning conditions.

“I played well and fought back quite hard. My caddie and I have worked out the golf course and how we want to play it. There are scoring opportunities out there but you have to start by keeping the ball in play here. It’s still anyone’s game out there and I’m looking forward to the weekend and the challenge that lies ahead.” – Michael Vlismas