Confident Carvell takes BMG lead

Matt Carvell had an air of confidence about him at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday and completed his second round in 69 strokes for a one-shot lead going into the BMG Classic’s final round.

“I wasn’t really expecting much this week, purely a confidence thing, but some things change overnight. I’ve been working hard at keeping my mindset consistent on the course, and it’s paying off.”

Lightning and hail delayed play on Saturday, but Carvell was unaffected and carded two late birdies on Sunday to take a one-stroke lead over Merrick Bremner and Teboho Sefatsa.

“I got off to a shaky start after the rain and three-putted early on,” said Carvell. “But then I holed out from a bunker for par at the second and made a really good birdie at the sixth, which is a tough par-three. I know three to seven are tough holes, so I just tried to stay patient. I knew the birdies were there, and eventually they came.”

The 27-year-old has shown wisdom beyond his years with his careful shot selection this week. The outcome? He’s made only two bogeys, less than any other player in the field.

“I don’t think this is a golf course where you have to attack every hole, and if you birdie the holes where you have opportunities then you’ll post a good score. I think a solid round today will get the job done,” he said.

Sunday marks the first time Carvell will lead going into the final round, yet the Kyalami Country Club professional was ready to test his limits.

“This is my first time leading as a pro, and it will be interesting. It’s going to be fun to see how I handle the pressure,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for the bigger events and trying to peak at the right time. I’ve been patient for a while, so I’m keen to see what happens this afternoon.”

He’ll face stiff competition, however. Holding one half of second was big-hitting Bremner, who shot an impressive 65 before the storms hit on Saturday. Joining him at six-under was Glendower professional Sefatsa, who won the Big Easy Tour Order of Merit exactly one month ago.

Sefatsa strung birdies together from 13 to 16, leaping into a share of second. “It’s good to finish strong and I think the back nine must suit my eye, because I’ve shot 32 there for both of my rounds. Local knowledge will play a part, and it’s a bit easier when you know where to hit it on the course,” he said.

On the other side of the spectrum was Ulrich van den Berg, who shot an opening 78. A six-time winner on tour, van den Berg’s experience showed when he shot a second-round 66 to make it through on the cut line.

“I might have pushed a bit too hard on the first day in that strong wind, but I didn’t take it to heart, because I was hitting it well. I got off to a good start in round two and knew I could get back into it – I just kept it going from there,” he said.

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