VEREENIGING, Gauteng – Neil Schietekat’s “holiday swing”, as he called it, yielded a sublime 64 and earned him a one-stroke lead headed into the weekend of the Mediclinic Invitational at Maccauvlei Golf Club.
The five-time Sunshine Tour winner made two eagles on his front nine as he climbed to 10 under par for the tournament on Friday.
His nearest challengers are Jovan Rebula, Oliver Bekker, Sean Bradley, Ryan van Velzen and Willie Olivier.
Olivier, who shared the first round lead with Bekker, teed off on the 10th and led the field on 11 under with six holes of his second round still to play. But he played those with a double bogey, bogey and just one birdie on his card.
The trio of Bekker, Van Velzen and Rebula remained consistent in terms of their title chase on day two. Bekker signed for a 70 while Van Velzen and Rebula both carded rounds of 69, and Bradley climbed the leaderboard with a 68.
But it was Schietekat who made the biggest move following his round of two under par on Thursday.
“It feels like I’m far from my best still. I’ve still got the holiday swing,” said Schietekat. But there appeared very little rust in his game on Friday.
Eagles on the par-five second and seventh holes and then a birdie on the eighth took him out in 31, and he added four birdies and a single bogey on the back nine to stake his claim for another victory following his latest triumph in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at the Pezula Championship Course in November last year.
“I made two eagles on the front nine and that always sets you up nicely for a low round, and I putted well today. But this is also just a nice golf course and I do enjoy it here.”
The four-round tournament is the perfect preparation early in the year for the upcoming swing of DP World Tour and European Challenge Tour events in February and March.
“This is a great event to start the year off with, and it’s always nice to have new sponsors on the Sunshine Tour like Mediclinic. We’re extremely fortunate to have a full tour in South Africa, and this is a great event to get our campaigns going again after the break.
“I’m looking forward to the next two days to get a little bit more practice in before our co-sanctioned events. But I’m not even taking it day by day now. It’s more like hole by hole. We’ll see what the next two days have in store for me and I’m looking forward to it.”