Occasional downpours didnÂt affect Johan de Beer at Bloemfontein Golf Club on Friday, where the 23-year-old raced to an eight-under-par 64 and the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School lead.
ÂI teed off on the tenth and went out in 31, which was pretty nice. I avoided careless mistakes and hit a lot of fairways and greens. The putter was hot and thatÂs what happens when you give yourself chances,Â he said.
After two rounds at both Bloemfontein and Schoeman Park Golf Clubs the cut line fell at one-under-par, and 265 players were whittled down to 68. At the top of the list was de Beer, whose 19-under-par total was enough for a two-stroke lead going into the final round at Schoeman Park on Saturday.
ÂMy goal coming into the week was to give myself a chance to play on Saturday, and IÂve done that now. I havenÂt led as many tournaments as IÂd like, but itÂs one of those things you have to get used to. All the focus changes tomorrow, I want to get out there and post a good number, but todayÂs round has definitely put me in good stead for tomorrow,Â he said.
The Pretoria local was excited about the chance to play professional golf on home soil, especially after spending the last four years studying finance Texas Christian University in the USA.
ÂThis is the first time IÂve been home for more than three months in the last five years. IÂm really in my comfort zone here, IÂm almost there and just canÂt wait to play amongst the good guys on tour. But for now I have to think about tomorrow, then weÂll worry about the rest of the year,Â he said.
Overnight leader JP van der Walt carded a Friday 70 to reach 17-under-par. His 271-shot total was enough for him to hold sole second, but Torben Baumann, Bennie van der Merwe and MJ Daffue loomed just one stroke back on 16-under-par.
ÂIÂm going to give it a full bash tomorrow,Â said van der Walt. ÂI should have enough shots to do it, so IÂll fix a few things on the range this afternoon and then weÂll see how it goes. If you told me at the beginning of the week that I would get to 17-under I would be happy.Â
Amateur Jacques Kruyswijk shot a Friday 64 to reach 15-under-par and move into sole sixth. Dylan Frittelli held seventh on 13-under-par, while Le Roux Ferreira moved to eighth on 11-under-par. Six players shared ninth on 10-under-par.