Desvonde moves into Swazi lead

On Thursday Desvonde Botes made his way round Royal Swazi Golf Club in 63 strokes, reaching a total of 29 points and taking the early second-round lead of the Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open.

“I played really nicely today – I hit the ball very well, made a lot of fairways and I think I missed one green the whole day. The greens are a little tricky and bouncy, but I putted well today and I’m happy with my round,” he said.

The 37-year-old made a flawless 18 points during day two of the R1-million tournament, reaching the clubhouse two points clear of Jake Roos and Christiaan Basson, who shared second.

“Nine birdies, no eagles,” said Botes. “Things were good pretty much all over. I had a few putts for eagle, because I was hitting it close, but I didn’t make the putts. I just hit it shot-by-shot, every shot as good as I can, and today was pretty good.”

A birdie at the 10th, which was his first hole, immediately got the momentum going for the Pecanwood Golf Estate professional. He continued to score, adding birdies at the 12th, 16th and 17th to turn on eight points for the day.

He burst into his second nine with birdies from the first to the third, moving into contention as the putts continued to drop. And drop they did – he added further birdies at the fifth and seventh, clocking up 10 points over his second loop before eventually taking the morning lead.

“It’s hard to get yourself to hit it hard enough on these greens,” said Botes. “I could have made a lower score today. Maybe tomorrow.”

Roos ignored a drop at the second and went on to make six birdies and an eagle en route to his 16 points for the day. Added to his 11 from the first round, in which he made two eagles, the 31-year-old finished two points shy of the lead.

Basson started on the 10th, but only settled into the round when he eagled the 17th. A run of birdies from the fifth to the eighth boosted him up the leaderboard, and he joined Roos on 27 points.

Botes wanted to keep steady through the week, and in closing added: “I enjoy the golf course, but I don’t think of the format – I just play my golf and see what happens from there. I’ve never won this tournament, but I’ve had a few top five finishes here, so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

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