Jaco Ahlers made six birdies on Thursday to reach a 23-point total at the halfway mark of the Investec Royal Swazi Open, which left him just one point shy of the lead.
“I’m feeling comfortable after today. I made some birdies and didn’t make a drop, so all-in-all I’m happy. You want to play that kind of golf,” he said.
With a win and 23 top-10s under his belt, Ahlers was keen to chase down the one-point lead held by Mark Williams, who made a solid 10 points on Thursday.
Williams started of the 10th tee, but really got firing on the front stretch, where he birdied four of his five closing holes. Gaining eight points in four holes launched the Zimbabwean into the lead, and he'll be raring to go come Friday.
For Ahlers it was a day of patience, as the big man explained: “I’m not an aggressive golfer and it doesn’t help that I change my style just for one tournament. I know which holes to go for around here, so I know I can rely on my normal game this week.”
The Centurion local headed to Swaziland on the back of a sixth-place finish at the Zimbabwe Open and has continued to shine, making 11 birdies and an eagle this week.
Ahlers gained a 2013 Canadian Tour card through an initiative between the Sunshine and Canadian Tours. He’s due to tee it up at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open in British Columbia in a month’s time, and was excited to take his current good form overseas.
“I’m very excited about going to Canada in a month. I’ve been playing pretty decently, both here and in Zim, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never been North-West in the world, so America and Canada means new everything – new food, new people, new courses!” he said.
The scoring opportunities were good at Royal Swazi Sun and Jake Redman took advantage, making eight points to join Ahlers in an early share of second.
They pair was followed by Ulrich van den Berg and PH McIntyre, both of whom hit the 21-point mark after 36 holes in Swaziland.
Rookie Brandon Detweiler kept pace with the front runners and held sole sixth with his 19 point total. The American will look to make up ground in the hotly contested Rookie of the Year Race.