11th May 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Bekker searching for Swazi scoring secret
Oliver Bekker tees off in the third round of the Investec Royal Swazi Open after moving into second place overnight knowing he has to keep thinking about the way he plays the course.
That’s because, although Bekker is a recent winner on the Royal Swazi Spa layout, he hasn’t been able to translate his 2017 success in the Lombard Insurance Classic on the course into success in the Investec Royal Swazi Open which uses a Modified Stableford system of scoring, in which an eagle is worth five points, a birdie two, a par none, a bogey minus one and a double or worse minus three.
“With this format, you have to keep attacking. That’s why, when I made three pars on the last three holes, which are score-able holes, I was really disappointed,” said Bekker of his second round. “You’ve got to keep the foot down and try and birdie every hole, basically.”
One would think that approach would yield success in both tournaments, but, besides Peter Karmis, who has won the Lombard Insurance Classic twice and is the defending champion in the Investec Royal Swazi Open, there is not much crossover in champions between the two events.
“Merrick Bremner has won the Lombard three times, but never the Investec,” said Bekker. Dean Burmester is another big hitter who has won the Lombard but not the Investec. “It’s funny how some guys do well in the points tournament and some do well in the stroke play one.
“But there is a difference. This is a score-able golf course. But the guy who plods around and doesn’t take unnecessary risks does better in the Lombard, where the guy that bombs it, tries to make eagles, takes a few risks, but also makes a few doubles along the way, he could do well in the Investec tournament.
“So the same player might not find each system suits him. But Peter Karmis just loves coming to Swaziland – if we were playing table tennis here, he’d probably play well,” laughed Bekker.
It’s looking good at the halfway stage on this year’s Investec Royal Swazi Open for Bekker: He fired a six-under-par 66 for 13 points to move into contention. “I think you need to get above 10 points in every round to have a chance to win at the end of the week,” he said. “So far, I’m just above 20 after two rounds, so I’m doing what I need to do.”