Three seasons on the Sunshine Tour for Jared Harvey can best be summarised by the words “steady improvement,” and in his fourth South African Open appearance at Glendower this week, the Mount Edgecombe golfer has made a flying start, as an opening round of 71 was brilliantly backed up by a score of 69 on Friday morning.
It was a bit of an up-and-down day for Harvey in the City of Ekurhuleni, with five birdies and an explosive eagle at the par-five 15th hole somewhat cancelled out by four bogeys. But, perched safely in the top 10, the Durbanite was understandably pleased with his position.
“I’m very happy with that round today,” Harvey beamed. “The 69 today could probably compare to a 65 or 66 in another event the way the course is playing. When you’re just off the fairway, you’re kind of just chopping it up the fairway from there. But the key for me this week has been my driving. It’s the strongest part of my game, and it’s helped me get it around here the last two days.”
The difficult setup of the course has been the subject of much conjecture this week, with the thickness of the rough being the focal point. However, Harvey believes the marginally sluggish speed of the greens offsets the difficulty of the heavy stuff, and even plays into his hands.
“It’s probably a good thing,” he said of the green speeds. “For me, I think it could become a bit too punishing. I think they’re running at a decent speed; maybe the guys who are off a bit later might battle a bit with a couple of spike-marks here or there. I quite like this pace though. Coming from Durban, where I’m used to slower greens, you can sometimes get struck a bit when they are very quick up here.”
Harvey has enjoyed a consistent 2014 season, amassing seven top-10 finishes and accumulating in excess of R640,000 in earnings. However, he came close to breaching new frontiers too, finishing second at the rain-affected Wild Waves Challenge, and missing out in a playoff to Danie van Tonder at the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
Yet, having safely made the cut at his national Open, the 26-year old now feels the pressure is off, and sees no reason to hold back heading into the final two rounds.
“I’ll definitely be looking to attack a bit more now. I’m going to stick to the same game plan. But I’m obviously driving it nicely, so I’d like to be a bit more aggressive this weekend because it suits my nature. The first job is done, and I’m very excited for the weekend,” Harvey smiled.