Merrick Bremner (@Merrick_Bremner) put his new-found consistency to the test on Friday to take an early share of the halfway lead of the R3.75-million Telkom Business PGA Championship being played at Country Club Johannesburg.
He carded five birdies and two bogeys for a three-under-par 69 to go to eight-under-par for the tournament and share the clubhouse lead with Danie van Tonder (@DanieVanTonder_), who also signed for a 69 and a one-stroke lead over Vaughn Groenewald, Tyrone Ferreira and Keenan Davidse.
“It’s about making the correct decisions and eliminating big numbers,” said the man who has been known to be a little overly-aggressive in the past. “When in trouble, rather hit it back onto the fairway and then knock it on the green and try to make and up-and-down for par. If you two-putt and make bogey it’s your worst score, as opposed to a double- or triple-bogey, or even worse.”
The steady approach didn’t bring him the best round of the morning – Groenewald and Ferreira each went five-under for their 67s – but it kept him in a good position from which to launch a bid for the title over the weekend. “I don’t know how long I’ll stay on top, but hopefully for a long time. It was good today, I played nicely,” he said.
The dialled-down Bremner had his best-ever year on the Sunshine Tour last year when he finished 10th on the Order of Merit, and he had a top-10 finish in last month’s Tshwane Open. But he hasn’t completely foresworn the extra edge his distance off the tee brings.
“On this course there is the opportunity to hit it a bit harder,” he said. “It can go a little sideways here and it’s still okay, because this course is a little more forgiving than some others. It helps hitting it longer, because you are taking shorter irons into all of the holes. Being able to reach par-fives in two, and do it easily, is always a massive help.”
That help might be useful over the weekend, as, lurking at six-under-par, just two off the early halfway lead, were Investec Cup winner Trevor Fisher Jnr, former South African Open champion James Kingston and the prolific Darren Fichardt.