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28th July 2023

Spacey chasing glory in FNB Eswatini Challenge

KHOLWANE, Eswatini – It wasn’t the 62 that he opened the tournament with, but Matthew Spacey’s second round of 70 at the Nkonyeni Lodge and Golf Estate on Friday was still enough to take him into a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the FNB Eswatini Challenge.

Spacey climbed to 12-under-par in this R2 million event and was content with his second round after having extended his lead, with Peter Karmis (70) four strokes behind on eight-under, and Leon Visser, who shot 64 on the first day, tied with Estiaan Conradie on seven-under.

Spacey’s second round began on the 10th hole and he was solid to the turn, with birdies on the 13th and 17th holes seeing him go out in 34.

His back nine was more of a struggle, though. Although he birdied the par-four first hole, three bogeys in his next four holes set him back. But Spacey undid much of the damage with a superb eagle on the par-five eighth hole.

“I’m quite happy that I shot under par,” Spacey said. I started well, but then had a wobble, before getting things right with an eagle on my 17th hole.

“There was a bit more breeze today and it picked up in the afternoon. To be honest, I made a few bad swings against it.

“I’m pretty excited about the final round. Anything can happen and I must just stick to my game-plan. Staying patient is what I’ve done really well, just letting things happen,” Spacey said.

The Nkonyeni Estate is comfortably removed from the urban hustle of Manzini, but the bushveld tranquility was definitely challenged by the course posing a real challenge on Friday.

Danie van Niekerk and JP Strydom registered the low rounds of the day with 67s, which lifted both of them into the top-20 on the leaderboard.

Closest to Spacey, however, was the seasoned Karmis, who overcame two bogeys and a double-drop with four birdies and an eagle, also on the eighth, for a 70 to leave him on eight-under, four behind.

Visser and Conradie are a further stroke behind, while Jean Hugo and Stuart Krog both shot 71s to be on six-under-par.