Drikus van der Walt might not be leading after ThursdayÂs second round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Simola Golf and Country Estate, but his course record 62 certainly got its fair share of attention.
The 21-year-old Sunshine Tour rookie finds himself in a share of 13th behind Jake RedmanÂs 36-hole tally of 11-under-par 133, but his round was his best ever and it turned his fortunes around in the tournament.
ÂI always seem to struggle to get off to a good start,Â said Van der Walt, who has had to pre-qualify for each of the events he has played in so far.
And he slumped to an opening 78 in the first round of the R600,000 event at Simola before the floodgates opened and he seemed unable to put a foot wrong as he made eight birdies and an eagle on his way to his extraordinary total.
ÂI started off kind of slow Â par-par-par Â and then all of a sudden three birdies came from nowhere,Â he said, Âand I started making some putts eventually.Â
That was something of an understatement: From his fourth to his 12th Â he started his round on the 10th Â he needed only one putt each time, and it was during that stretch that he made his eight birdies. That included five in a row around the turn.
ÂThen there were three difficult holes in a row on four, five and six,Â he said. ÂTheyÂre tough, so I was happy with pars, although I did have opportunities. I left two putts short, and then I got lucky on eight when I hit a nice shot in there which came down the slope to two feet and I tapped it in for eagle.Â
Up ahead, Redman had an impressive round of his own as he went eight under par for a 64, which put him into a two stroke lead over Vaughn Groenewald.
The 25-year-old Redman also made eight birdies and an eagle Â the latter courtesy of a chip in on the 18th Â but two bogeys kept him from matching Van der WaltÂs extraordinary round.
They did, however, give him the lead in an event he would dearly love to claim for his maiden professional victory as it is within a driver and a wedge from his home club at Fancourt in George.
And Groenewald, who is just two tournaments into a swing change, battled to a one-over 37 in his opening nine before coming home with five birdies and no drops for a 68 and a shot at the man who was a rookie while Groenewald was in his 15th year on the Sunshine Tour.
ÂIf I donÂt have it now, then I will never have the mental stability that I will need to have tomorrow,Â said Groenewald. ÂYou must just never give up.Â
Redman recognises the difficulty he will face in closing: ÂIÂm going to have to take it one shot at a time because the biggest thing is to not get ahead of myself.Â
And for Van der Walt, itÂs about riding this wave heÂs on now. ÂI always knew it was going to be tough, but I didnÂt think it was going to be this tough,Â he said. ÂBut itÂs a good reality check Â youÂve got to play some good golf.Â