Keith closes the gap in Swaziland

Keith Horne made waves at the Investec Royal Swazi Open on Thursday when he pieced together an 18-point second round to move within two points of the lead.

 

“If you take on some shots and they come off then you can really score well. It’s a nice format for this golf course, but you have to take it on. You’ve got to remain circumspect, but you also need to be that little bit more aggressive this week,” he said.

 

The sun came out during the second round at Royal Swazi Sun Country Club and Horne scorched his way around the 6140-metre course. The veteran competitor made seven birdies and an eagle and tallied 26 points after 36 holes to share second place, two points behind leader Ross Wellington.

 

“My short game was really good today,” said Horne. “There are a lot of short holes out there and if you can get your wedges on song then you’ll hit a lot of them close, which I did.”

 

This week is the first time in four years that the 42-year-old has come back to Royal Swazi Sun. During his previous trip to Swaziland he won the 2010 Swazi Open with a total of 47 points, so good memories abound for the five-time Sunshine Tour champion.

 

“It’s nice to play something different. This is a perfect format for the golf course, and that makes it interesting. You can come from anywhere and make up huge ground, which is always exciting. I’ve played well here before and I won the Investec Swazi Open in 2010. There have been a lot of good results here, so it sits well with me,” he said.

 

Thursday was a round full of opportunity and under the modified stableford scoring system the professionals had good reason to attack the flags. Horne was up to the task and capitalised on his chances.

 

The tournament’s scoring system awards eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and zero points for a par. One point is deducted for a bogey and three for a double-bogey.

 

Halfway leader Wellington won the pre-qualifier to earn a spot in the R1-million tournament. He went on to amass 17 points during the first round and on Thursday continued to lead after scoring 11 points in the second round.

 

“It’s feels good to be in the lead and today I wanted to stay calm and take it one shot at a time, so it was really nice to achieve that. Being in the lead is a great experience and hopefully I can keep this calm mindset and stay on top right through the week,” he said.

 

Defending champion James Kingston ruffled feathers with his bogey-free second round on Thursday. The 12-time Sunshine Tour winner kept tabs on the lead with a 12-point second round that secured his share of second place.

 

Jacques Blaauw and Charl Coetzee shared fourth place on 25 points, while Alex Haindl followed in sole sixth on 24 points. Tyrone Mordt, Haydn Porteous and Jaco Ahlers shared seventh a further point off the pace.

 

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