15th September 2018 | Sunshine Tour
De Jager, Ahlers take control at Arabella
Louis de Jager navigated the Arabella Country Club layout expertly on Saturday to sign for five-under-par 67 to total nine-under-par on his way to a share of the lead with Jaco Ahlers ahead of the final round in Kleinmond.
Teeing off early when the weather wasn’t too friendly at Arabella, De Jager, and indeed most of those who teed off in the morning knew the challenge that they were confronted with.
“I am very happy,” said De Jager who has not missed a cut this season. “If you had told me five-under today at the start of the day, I would have taken it with a smile. It got tough this morning, but it turned out to be a lovely day out here. Our back nine was lovely.”
He opened his round with a birdie on a par-four first hole, then he picked up a par on the second before making another birdie on the third. Four pars later, he made his first bogey of the round but swiftly recovered on the ninth, making a birdie there. He took a par at the turn before making gains on the 11th and the 13th. Those were immediately threatened by the bogey he made on 14, however, birdies on the 16th and the last hole meant a 67 was secured and an opportunity for a win in the final round, a possibility.
De Jager admitted that he did not expect such a score when he teed off at the Peter Matkovich-designed course. “I did not think the score was out there. I hit the ball very well and I am putting pretty well this week. So, I am very pleased,” he said.
Ahlers said, after the injury that sidelined him for a while, he was pleased to return and play the way he currently is and while he was not entirely happy with his showing at Selborne Park a fortnight ago, he was pleased to see the work he’s been doing in the intervening period paying dividends.
“I’ve been off through injury and I came back and played Selborne some 10 days ago, it wasn’t great,” he said, “but, I put a bit of work in and it’s nice to see it coming off, you know. I hit the ball nicely for two days and I’ve got new irons in the bag and they just fit straightaway, you know. I’m really chuffed.”
While Ahlers is on the hunt for his eighth Sunshine Tour title, De Jager, whose last win came at the Nedbank Affinity Cup back in 2014, would be happier to end a winless run that has lasted four years.
Trailing by 1 on eight-under, Trevor Fisher carded a second flawless 68 to take the second spot while Neil Schietekat is two-shots shy of the leaders with the Zimbabwean Marc Cayeux behind the leaders by three.