Two bogeys and a double-bogey were hardly what Attie Schwarztel needed, but he weathered that storm to hold the second round clubhouse lead of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Parys Golf and Country Estate as a thunderstorm put paid to play for the day on Thursday.
The man who only made it into the tournament as a qualifier made two birdies on that opening nine as he went in search of his maiden Sunshine Tour victory, turning in two-over 38, but he came home with two birdies and an eagle in 33 for a one-under-par 71.
Out on the course was Lyle Rowe – about to tee off on 18 – level on six-under for the tournament, and first-round leader Anthony Michael two groups back on five-under after 15.
“I didn’t think six-under would hold for the lead,” said Schwartzel. “I had a bad start and was three-over for the round after eight. The problem was I didn’t hit any fairways, but I went four-under for the last 10 holes and that got me back in the tournament.”
After he opened the R600,000 54-hole tournament with a five-under-par 67, he spoke about how he had recently been putting together two good rounds and spoiling his tournaments with one bad round.
It was most frustrating for him in the last Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Langebaan, where he had a chance to do even better than his maiden professional victory in June at Houghton on the Sunshine Big Easy circuit. But he closed with a three-over-par 75 in Langebaan to finish in a share of seventh.
“I am pleased with the way I fought back today,” said Schwartzel of his battle with the course in Parys. “Maybe this can be my bad round for the tournament. The way I finished was good. I birdied nine, made par on 10 and eagled 11, where I hit driver, six-iron into the bunker left of the green and holed the bunker shot.”
He will have a few experienced customers on his tail when the second round is completed on Friday morning early: Ulrich van den Berg is within two of the lead with three to play, while last week’s Sunshine Tour winner Andrew Curlewis is another shot back, together with the veteran Doug McGuigan.
“I’m just going to try not to think of being in the lead,” said Schwartzel. “I can just try and control what I can control.”