Jaco leads Telkom PGA Championship yet again

Jaco van Zyl won the Telkom PGA Championship in 2009 and is no stranger to leading on the Woodmead course at Country Club Johannesburg. On Friday at this year’s tournament he shot 65 to join an early share of the lead before play was suspended due to dangerous weather conditions.

“I played nicely today, even though it felt like I left a couple out there. I’m really starting to hit it nicely and hopefully I can take that form into the weekend,” he said.

The 34-year-old won the Dimension Data Pro-Am just three weeks ago and came second at the Africa Open a week prior to that. And that superb form flowed over into this week’s R3,75-million tournament, where van Zyl now shares the top spot with Dylan Frittelli.

“You have to be on your game around here,” said van Zyl. “If you’re playing well it’s there for the taking, but if not then it will bite you back. My short game is nice and sharp, so I’m scoring well out there.”

The Dainfern Country Club representative could even be considering a membership at CCJ, based on his PGA Championship trophy from 2009, his good run this week, and the fast that he’s just moved into a new house in the neighbourhood.

“I’m playing Investec Cup next week and then I’m taking seven weeks off to spend some time with the family. We’ve just bought a new house and moved four months ago and that house is only two kilometres from here,” he said. Frittelli has made headlines since winning NCAA Championship in 2012, which made him the world number one amateur.

“It’s great to be back in South Africa. I always enjoy coming back to my home country and it’s where I learnt to play,” he said.

The youngster started off slowly at Woodmead on Friday, reaching the turn at level-par for the day. At the 10th it all clicked for him, and under cloudy skies Frittelli put on a superb display, producing five birdies and an eagle at the 18th for a 29-shot second loop.

“I wasn’t looking too great when I turned level-par, and I knew that if I went a few under through the first holes of my back nine I would have a good chance to go low. Before I knew it I was standing on the 18th needing a three to make 29, which was something I have never done before. I was pretty ecstatic to seal that,” he said.

Like Frittelli and van Zyl, Merrick Bremner shot a Friday 65, which took him to sole third on 11-under-par. The low round of the day went to Danie van Tonder, who chalked up 64 on his way to 10-under and a share of fourth alongside Jean-Paul Strydom, Jean Hugo and England’s Steve Surry.

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