At the start of the week Hennie Otto, fresh off a run of good results in Europe, was the bookies’ favourite for the BMG Classic. On Saturday he shot 68 at Glendower Golf Club for a leading 11-under-par total, moving one step closer to proving the betting men right.
“I’ve been working on the mental areas and it’s improving as the season goes along. You try to relax and find the groove, and then repeat the things that you do well,” he said.
The BMG Classic spans three rounds and has a cut to the top 40 and those tied on the number at the completion of round two. With a Sunday finish and a full field of 156 players, the R600,000 tournament heralds the start of summer for the professionals.
While some players anxiously waited to see if they would make it through to Sunday, Otto casually worked his way around Glendower in 68 strokes, taking the clubhouse lead midway through the second round.
“We’ve been playing from the front tees for the last two days, and if the putter works then you can score,” said the 2011 South African Open Champion.
The 37-year-old started on the 10th and played sharp golf over his first nine holes, reaching the turn at four-under for the day.
Glendower is hailed as a true test because it penalises bad shots. Such was the case for Otto at the par-five second hole, where he carded a double-bogey seven.
He did damage control with a birdie two at the next hole and made further birdies at the sixth and eighth to reach the clubhouse one-stroke clear of second-placed Ulrich van den Berg.
“I made some silly mistakes today,” said Otto, who shot 65 on Friday and shared the overnight lead. “My head went off on the second, but I played well after that. Every week there is a hole or two that gives me nightmares.”
Van den Berg had a solid day at Glendower, despite the blustery conditions, and carded 69 to take up sole second on 10-under-par. The 38-year-old made his first bogey of the tournament at the fifth, but birdies at the sixth, eighth, 13th and 15th kept him in touch with the lead.
Lyle Rowe continued to track the leaders with a Saturday 68, which moved the 26-year-old into sole third on nine-under-par.