BENONI, Gauteng – Jayden Schaper enjoyed a three-shot lead, but Makhetha Mazibuko was building a strong challenge, when dangerous weather caused the second round of the Fortress Invitational at Ebotse Links to be suspended on Saturday afternoon.
Schaper, who was in a three-way tie for the lead after a first-round 65, separated himself on Saturday with another fine round, a five-under-par 67 lifting him to 12-under for the tournament, going into Sunday’s final round.
Two birdies and a bogey on the front nine saw Schaper reach the turn just one-under, but he blossomed on the back nine with four birdies to pull away from the field.
“I had a steady start, I was hitting the ball well and I just left a couple of putts in the jaws of the hole. But I just stayed patient and it was pretty much another solid all-round game. It was more difficult today, the wind was up and that makes the course a lot tougher,” Schaper said.
But Mazibuko is on nine-under-par, tied in second place with Richard Joubert (69), and he still has six holes to play when the second round resumes at 7am on Sunday.
The 34-year-old from Bloemfontein Golf Club is three-under for his round, all three birdies coming on the front nine.
Schaper will be chasing his first Sunshine Tour title on Sunday, with the final round being played to a two-tee, three-ball format. The 21-year-old enjoyed a prolific amateur career and it will be remembered that he was touted as South African golf’s next big thing when he finished second in the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
“I guess there will be some added pressure, but I’ll be saying to myself that there is no difference between a Sunshine Tour event or an amateur tournament. It’s the same as any round of golf.
“Playing at my home course at Ebotse will also keep me calm because I know the course well. I’m looking forward to it, I’m going to enjoy it and if it’s my day then I’ll take it,” Schaper said.
The other first-round leaders went backwards on the second day, with Ockie Strydom shooting a level-par 72 and staying on seven-under, which is now in a tie for fifth, while Clinton Grobler is four-over-par through 12 holes, having double-bogeyed his last two holes to be nine shots off the pace.