Ruan de Smidt, JC Ritchie and Omar Sandys were the first group off on day two of the Investec Royal Swazi Open, and de Smidt built on his solid first round in great fashion by carding a five-under-par 67 worthy of 14 stableford points.
With the rest of the field still to come in, de Smidt leads the tournament on 27 points, one point ahead of veteran Titch Moore.
De Smidt was aware that there is still a whole afternoon field eager to catch him and he said, “Yeah I’m happy. It’s been a good couple of days. Obviously the afternoon field still needs to go out, but hopefully I’m there or thereabouts after today.”
The highlight of de Smidt’s round came at his final hole of the day, the par-four ninth, which saw him hole-out for an eagle-two and five stableford points. “Nine – just from 100 metres – I hit sand wedge in the hole. It just pitched past the whole and spun back in. It was a messy day today, I made a lot of mistakes and that five pointer on the last hole definitely helps a lot,” he explained.
For de Smidt, it is a case of being mentally solid around a tricky golf course. “It’s just mental mistakes. Yesterday I hit one bad shot but I hit the ball really well. Today I hit a couple more bad ones – I hit it in the water on the par-three 14th – but I think it’s just mental mistakes and not the swing,” he said.
With the early conditions, both de Smidt and Moore were able to take advantage of the impeccable greens at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club. Moore said, “It was good out there today. Obviously playing early, the greens were rolling a bit better, but the course is looking as good as it’s ever been. I’ve been here for 20 years now and it really is as good as it’s ever been. Moore added, “Yesterday afternoon they got quite firm, which makes them a bit more tricky, but all-in-all the course is in great nick.”
Moore says he is enjoying the modified stableford format and the challenge it brings with having to play more aggressively. “I made two eagles on the back-nine which obviously helps, that was where the score was made today, but it’s a nice format, an aggressive format where you can try make birdies,” he explained.
For Moore, the Investec Royal Swazi Open is a tournament he feeds off and being in contention for the weekend is something he has missed. “Yeah I happy with my game. Obviously I’ve been struggling for a while now and I’ve been putting the effort in and it’s nice to see the little bit of reward. There is still a long way to go, but it’s nice to get myself into a good position,” he said. “I love it here. I’ve been here for 20 years and I’m going to keep on coming,” he explained.