Oliver Bekker finished last in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August, but heÂs gone some way to redeeming himself in the South African Open Championship after he moved to seven-under-par at the halfway mark.
Bekker, who got into the WGC event in Akron, Ohio by virtue of his victory in the Sunshine TourÂs Dimension Data Pro-Am in February, found the going tough amongst some of the worldÂs best players.
ÂI didnÂt do myself proud at WGC, but it was a great learning experience for me,Â he said. ÂIt gives you that extra motivation to go out there and practice a little harder. You see what the guys at the top are doing and how they do it. It gives you that little bit of insight into your own game.Â
Bekker, who won the Northern Cape Classic in September 2011 for his maiden Sunshine Tour title, opened the SA Open at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate with a four-under-par 68, and solidified that start with a three-under 69 in the second round.
ÂIÂm putting better, and IÂve been struggling with that for the last month or so,Â he said. ÂIÂm hitting some good shots and IÂve played the par-threes well Â I think IÂm four-under for them this week.Â
His seven-under total at halfway left him six adrift of clubhouse leader Henrik Stenson of Sweden, and in a good position to press home his good start. ÂIÂm just hoping to keep it going throughout the rest of the week,Â he said. ÂIÂm looking forward to a god weekend and seeing if I can be in the running on Sunday.
ÂThis is one of our premier events, and itÂs probably the one that all the South Africans want to win, because itÂs our national open. ThereÂs always a bit of extra pressure playing the SA Open to do well and do your country proud,Â he added.
ÂIÂve been driving it pretty well, and if I can keep it in the fairway and keep giving myself good chances to be aggressive for the flags and roll a couple of putts in, then IÂm sure IÂll be there.Â