He lied to himself throughout his second nine on Friday, and that helped Bryce Bibby to an eight-under-par 64 and the 36-hole lead in the R650,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event presented by Samsung at St Francis Links.
He made nine birdies and a bogey in his round, which won’t qualify as a course record because there was placing, and it was good enough to give him a three-shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard over Christiaan Basson.
He reached the turn in six-under-par 30, and it was then that the exercise in self-deception began: “. I just kept lying to myself, saying ‘You’re only level-par, try and get under par.’ I didn’t try and protect the score,” he said. “I felt I’d already posted a good score, so I had a bit of a cushion to make an error. So I tried to make a couple more birdies.”
He’d made more than enough to go around for a great round in just that opening nine: He started with two in a row on his first two holes, and then reeled off four in a row from the fourth to the seventh. “It was awesome. I enjoyed it,” he said. “When I got on that run, I just told myself to relax and enjoy it.”
Turning in 30 in a tournament was a new experience for him. “I’ve shot 30 for nine before, but never in a tournament. It doesn’t come around often, though,” he allowed.
The only blemish on his card came on the 12th: “I hit a drive with a little bit of a heel fade into the wind, and it landed on a bit of an upslope,” he explained. “I had about 118 metres, and I tried to hit a soft nine-iron and I caught it a bit heavy. It fell just short of the green and I didn’t get it up and down.”
Bibby, who is in his second year on the Sunshine Tour after a tough rookie season in 2014, has been trying to get into position to cement his place on the Sunshine Tour. Two top-20 finishes have helped, but two missed cuts in his last two tournaments didn’t.
Hard work on the putting green helped. “My putting worked particularly well today. I’ve been working hard at it as you can see,” he said, pointing at the spare putter he was holding. “I struggled with putting in the last two tournaments.”
Basson’s round looked as if it was going to be bogey-free until he dropped the only shot of his day on his final hole – the ninth. He carded a fine 66 to move to eight-under-par, while it fell to Mark Williams of Zimbabwe to turn in the only clean sheet of the day: He made four birdies in his final five holes for his 67, leaving him four off Bibby’s pace.
The 23-year-old Bibby who plays out of Royal Durban not only lied to himself for nine holes, he also managed to play with the closest thing to a poker face you’ll see on a course. “I try to keep my emotions in check – but I was very happy,” he said.