Basson scrambles to stay in contention

Christiaan Basson scrambled his way around the 6,570-metre par-71 Windhoek Country Club to reach halfway in seven-under-par, two off the lead in the R1.2-million MTC Namibia PGA Championship.

He trailed Prinavin Nelson by two, together with Albert Pistorius and Justin Walters, while Ryan Tipping was sandwiched between them and the leader at eight-under, alone in second.

It was Basson’s opening six-under-par 65 which put him in a good early position, but it was a round of making sure things didn’t spin out of control which kept him in contention.

“Today I kind of scrambled around and I didn’t really play well,” he said. “I think my short game saved me once or twice.”

There were two occasions when it didn’t save him, when he made bogey-four on the 210-metre 13th, and a bogey-five on the closing 425-metre 18th.

“I didn’t hit a good shot on 13,” he said, “and it was so muddy that it was difficult to get a decent strike on the ball there, but I hit a good putt to make bogey.

“On the last hole, I just hit it in the rough and got a mud-ball, which could have gone pretty much anywhere, and I couldn’t get it up and down,” he added.

Basson is looking for his second professional victory after he won the 2009 Coca-Cola Championship.

Co-incidentally, Branden Grace is also looking for a second professional win, and he won the 2010 Coca-Cola Championship.

Grace carded a two-under 69 to move into a share of ninth position at five-under-par. At four off the pace, he – as well as multiple Sunshine Tour winners Jean Hugo and Darren Fichardt – is very much still in the hunt.

Nelson, who is also a one-time winner after he won the 2009 SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Paarl, found that his putting was his strong point in his three-under-par 68, during which he dropped his first shot of the tournament – on the 16th, which was his seventh of the day which started on the 10th for him.

Tipping, too – whose sole victory came in the 2009 SAA Pro-Am Invitational at Randpark – putted well during his four-under-par 67.

Behind the leading group, Doug McGuigan’s six-under-par 65 was the best round of the day. With five birdies, and eagle and a single dropped shot, he found himself in a share of sixth place with Louis de Jager and JG Claassen.

The leading Namibian player remained Joe Nawanga, who followed his opening four-under-par 67 with a two-over 73 to comfortably make the cut.

© 2016 Sunshine Tour. All rights reserved. Website constructed by OCS Sport