BELA-BELA (Limpopo) – JJ Senekal retained his place at the top of the SDC Open leaderboard with a second round of 67 which earned him a four-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
Senekal leads the field on 15 under par, with fellow South African Martin Vorster his nearest challenger on 11 under par following a 69 on Friday. Casey Jarvis, Alfie Plant, Combrinck Smit, Estiaan Conradie and Victor Pastor are all lined up on 10 under par.
Senekal was two strokes clear after the first round thanks to his opening 62, and he had set himself a target of another low round on Friday.
“I had a target of eight under today, but I mean, five under is still a good round of golf around here,” he said.
He made another fast start with two birdies in his first three holes to suggest he may well post another low round. But the cooler weather and intermittent rain that moved over the course seemed to match the cooling of his putter.
“After that good start I really thought I could go low again today. But it died down after that and the putter went cold over the last 10 holes. I didn’t make a thing. I hit two close iron shots that gave me the opportunity for a birdie and eagle but that was it. I didn’t make anything inside 10 feet after that. I’m actually quite disappointed with the putting performance on the back nine, but I’m in a good position for the weekend.”
It was the opposite for his nearest challenger Vorster. The young star finds himself in contention for the second time on this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned stretch of events. He finished fourth in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open two weeks ago, and this week he’s felt that his putter has kept him in the chase.
“I’m pretty happy considering how I hit the ball today. The swing has been a bit up and down and I haven’t been hitting the ball as well as the last few weeks. But my short game has been the best it has been so I feel comfortable around the greens. The putter was great and I made a few good putts for pars.”
Vorster recovered well from each of his three bogeys, following them up with a birdie at the next hole. And he’s relishing being in contention going into the weekend.
“Being in the mix is incredible. I was right up there in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open and I enjoy it so much. It motivates me to play better so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Senekal has hopes that he has another low round in him for the weekend as he chases a title he was also in contention for last year.
“I’m just going to keep doing the same I’ve been doing the last two days. If you put yourself in the right positions on this golf course you can really go low. – Michael Vlismas