Just when it looked like Merrick Bremner was running away with the Lombard Insurance Classic, Jean Hugo shot a Saturday 63 at Royal Swazi Sun Country Club to keep the leader in his sights.
“I didn’t think I would be four shots back at this stage,” said Hugo. “Merrick will be under pressure tomorrow, trying to defend the lead. We can just attack, so I’m looking forward to it.”
The 13-time Sunshine Tour champion reached the clubhouse on a 12-under-par total, which left him four strokes shy of the lead. At the end of Saturday’s play there will be a cut to the top 50 and those tied on the number. With one round to play, Hugo was confident that he could peak at the right time.
“The leaders are always up there over the first two days and then try to hang on over the last day, so we’ll try to stay positive and keep attacking. You can make a lot of birdies if you try to attack this course, and that will be the plan for tomorrow,” he explained.
The Centurion resident won the 2008 Swazi Open at the same track and is well aware of the scoring opportunities. He took full advantage on Saturday, which was a beautiful day with no wind and sunny skies.
“The greens are running nicely and are quite firm, so you need to hit the fairways to have a chance of getting it close. If you hit the ball straight you’ll have a good chance of scoring,” he said.
Overnight leader Bremner continued to charge ahead and wrapped up the lead on a 16-under-par total after 36 holes. The big hitter from Pretoria made no bogeys on Saturday, which kept the momentum flowing throughout the day.
“I’ve led so many times after day one, and the most important thing is to follow through and keep the momentum going. I took it shot-by-shot and managed to keep the scores coming,” he said.
He peppered his card with seven birdies to sign for a second-round 65, securing the clubhouse lead.
“This week I’ve tried a new technique where I focus on each shot. That’s really been working for me, especially with my approach shots. I’ve been hitting it close and converting for the last two rounds, and hopefully I can do the same again tomorrow,” he said.
Dean Burmester and PH McIntyre carded 65 and 66 respectively to share third place on 10-under-par. Brandon Pieters shot 69 to take an early hold on fifth place.