Chris Swanepoel was prepared to concede Cape Town might have its attractions after his second consecutive 68 took him to eight-under-par ahead of the halfway stage of the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open on Friday.
Maybe because he turned 30 just a week ago, the man who has won three times on the Sunshine Tour, but has a self-confessed apathy to the Western Cape conceded that things were good after he completed his round in still, cool conditions.
“I’m not a big fan of the Cape, but this is absolutely perfect, even for Pretoria,” he said – quite a concession for someone who got his second title in very tough Western Cape conditions at Arabella near Kleinmond back in 2011.
And the conditions were benign after the stiff breezes of the first round had troubled a lot of the field on Thursday.
Swanepoel had a double-bogey and a bogey to stymie his progress in the opening round, during which he also made seven birdies. But there were no errors in his second round, with four birdies giving him the same score for the second round in succession.
“Yesterday I was wayward off the tee, while today I was more consistent off the tee,” he said. “I chipped and putted really well throughout these two days.”
Playing as well as that made him say good things about the Royal Cape Golf Club course too: “I like the course, because you have to think around here,” he said. “If you hit it really long then it’s a big advantage, but I’m not that long off the tee and so I have to focus. There are one or two holes where you can really go for it, but sometimes you’ve got to think about taking irons off the tee. And the greens are very receptive.”
While eight-under is not leading the tournament, Swanepoel was very happy to be in contention going into the weekend – especially with the incentive of a spot in next week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge up for grabs for the winner.
“Every golfer in this tournament is thinking about it,” he said. “It’s a life-changing experience for those of us who play on the Sunshine Tour through winter. If you get into that field it will change your whole life.”