ST FRANCIS (Eastern Cape) â€“ Louis de Jager will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend of the South African PGA Championship as he looks to win this prestigious title for a second time in his career.
On another benign day by the standards of the St Francis Links, De Jager added a 66 to his opening 68 to lead the field on 10 under par. His nearest challengers are first-round leader Steve Surry, who struggled to a second round of 73, and Michael Hollick, who signed for a 70, on eight under par overall. And young star Jayden Schaper remains in the hunt just three strokes off the lead following a second round of 72.
De Jager did most of his scoring on his second nine, the courseâ€™s front nine, where he made five birdies in a stretch of six holes to work his way into the lead as he looks to add to his 2019 triumph in South Africaâ€™s second oldest professional tournament.
â€œItâ€™s great to be home and see some familiar faces, and it feels just as good to be on top of a leaderboard again,â€ said De Jager, who had his fair share of COVID-related travel issues while trying to campaign on the European Tour before deciding to return home to the Sunshine Tour.
And he now has the opportunity to become a rare multiple winner of the South African PGA Championship, a title he says was one of his top priorities when he turned professional in 2008.
â€œWhen I turned professional, outside of the co-sanctioned events with the European Tour, the South African PGA Championship was always the biggest event on our Tour. So when I came out on Tour I always wanted to win it, and it was really special winning it the first time in 2019. It would be great to win it twice.â€
The St Francis Links course has been unusually forgiving of the field this week, largely due to a lack of the kind of wind that can make it a beast of a golf course.
This as well as a combination of De Jagerâ€™s own patience and improved putting form helped carry him to the top of the leaderboard.
â€œI wasnâ€™t really on form in the first round, and then today I hit the ball well and made a few puts and just stayed patient. But the golf course has been great. Itâ€™s obviously built for a bit of wind, but I think itâ€™s a great venue for one of the flagship tournaments on the Sunshine Tour.â€