Justin makes Harare move

On Thursday Justin Walters moved 33 places up the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open leaderboard, claiming an early hold on second after he shot a six-under-par 66 at Royal Harare Golf Club.

“The wind had died down to a manageable amount and the greens were a bit softer today, so coming out this morning we were able to pepper a few more pins,” he said.

Despite having missed the cut in his last two appearances in the R1,5-million tournament, Walters looked comfortable and finished just two strokes back from morning leader Albert Pistorius.

“My history here is not very good actually,” said Walters. “I missed two cuts in a row, and I really struggle on this golf course, so it’s been quite a good test for me mentally and to see where my game is. I’m very encouraged when I see what I’ve done.”

The world’s 411th-best golfer started on the back nine and turned in 34 strokes. It was a steady buildup to his explosive second loop, which started with a hat trick of birdies from the first to the third. “It was one of those things that really push you in the right direction,” he said of his birdie streak. “Yesterday I started well on the front three, and today I thought about that. Then I started with three birdies, so that certainly helped me get to where I am now.”

Pistorius backed up his opening 66 with a second-round 70. His eight-under-par tally held the early lead, and he was happy with his steady round.

“It was a grinder today. It’s always in the back of your mind that you’ve made a good score already, and to back that up… I’ll take 70. I was two-under after six, and then I made 12 pars in a row, so it was a bit disappointing. But there were a lot of good pars that I made out there,” he said.

The Silver Lakes Country Club professional looked forward to the weekend from pole position, saying: “I like the course and I think it’s in good condition. My putting is a lot better and that gives you more confidence to make a good score. I might spend some time on the range today to sort the swing out, and then if the putter is hot tomorrow then hopefully I can make another good score.”

Walters, a two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, had already shifted his focus to the weekend – and that’s cause for the competition to fret. “At the end of the day if I can keep doing what I’m doing then hopefully by Sunday I’ll be there with a chance. That’s all I’m really worried about,” he said.

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