Jaco limping but still in the hunt in Africa Open

He played his practice round in shoes that are too narrow, and now Africa Open contender Jaco Ahlers is enduring hours of agony daily as his right foot pays the price of treatment for a bad blister.

It’s all made worse by the fact that the rolling fairways at East London Golf Club are often cambered quite severely and it means he’s seldom walking on the level.

Ahlers headed into the weekend in a share of second at 13-under-par, two shots off the pace set by defending champion Louis Oosthuizen after two fine rounds of eight-under-par 65 and five-under-par 68.

And it’s all been going well, with just one bogey on his card during the first two days – a bogey-five on the 14th, after an error-free run of 31 holes.

His opening round was all about accuracy – he hit 13 of the 15 fairways and 15 of the 18 greens in regulation. By way of contrast his second round was something of a scramble as he only hit nine of the 15 fairways.

After his second round, Ahlers had to have the blister on the inside of his little toe on his right foot lanced and injected with merthiolate – “That’s about 80 percent pure alcohol, and we had to sit on him before we did it to keep him down,” joked one of the physiotherapists.

The 29-year-old professional who plays out of Legends Golf and Safari Resort won his maiden Sunshine Tour title at Erinvale in 2009. He had his best year on the tour in 2011, finishing 36th on the Order of Merit.

A good finish in the Africa Open will kick-start his 2012 season after he played a few tournaments in Asia in 2011 without too much success.

But he will have to overcome the blister problem as well as opposition on the course first.

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