CAPE ST FRANCIS, Eastern Cape – Ockie Strydom woke up on Friday morning and thought it was going to be a wet and miserable at the St Francis Links, but it ended up being a happy day for the 37-year-old as he was sitting high, and dry, at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event there.
Strydom shot a five-under-par 67 on Friday to go to 11-under for the tournament, leading Dylan Naidoo, who also shot a 67, by one stroke.
“When I woke up this morning, I thought it was going to be a very wet day and driving to the course, I kept wondering if I should turn back and get my rain shoes,” Strydom said.
“In the end I didn’t drive back and it was as wet as it can be when we started the round. But it actually turned into a lovely day in the end. It was overcast, but the wind largely stayed away, until it came up a bit again with five holes to go on the back nine.”
Strydom, who began the day one stroke off the lead, made a quiet start to his round with just a single birdie on the front nine, coming at the par-five third hole.
It was actually a bogey – his only one of the day – at the par-four 11th that gave birth to an astonishing run of five successive birdies from the 12th that gave the Serengeti Golf Estate golfer the lead.
“I made sure I played good golf into the wind, but on the first nine I kept hitting all my putts short. Then on 11 I had a 15-foot birdie putt and I told my caddie there’s no way I’m leaving it short. So I hit it eight foot past and then missed the putt coming back,” Strydom explained.
“So I had a harsh little chat with myself walking to the next tee, I thought I must get something going now, take advantage of being downwind and give myself a cushion for the last hole when you’re back into the wind.”
Apart from Naidoo, the other golfers chasing Strydom on the final day will be Doug McGuigan (67) on eight-under-par and Hennie O’Kennedy (68) and Keenan Davidse (67) on seven-under.
Strydom has been leading many times before and he knows what he has to do.
“I’m just going to do the same as I’m doing at the moment. Try keep the ball in play and hit the greens. If I can make five putts, be five-under tomorrow then I’ll be in with a good shout. I must just be patient,” Strydom said.