“I just played today, and decided to take whatever comes. It felt like I played solidly out there, because this is a long course and it’s a test of ball striking, so you have to keep calm,” he said.
The 38-year-old has not missed a cut in his last eight starts, and continued to impress on Tuesday at the tough East Course of Royal Johannesburg, where he shot 69.
While he plays out of Durban Country Club, Ndwandwe has plenty of experience at the East Course, which is also the venue for the Joburg Open each year. He made five birdies during the round, but a double-bogey at the 15th limited his scoring.
“I had one double, but I managed to keep it together. On the par four 15th, which was on my front nine, I hit it in the water and eventually made six. But I birdied the 17th and 18th to turn one-under, and I kept it steady from there,” he said.
At Big Easy Benoni a fortnight ago, Ndwandwe shot rounds of 70 and 69 to finished tied second on five-under-par, one stroke shy of winner Kevin Stone.
This week Ndwande will look to secure his first Big Easy win, and 15 years of professional golf have prepared him for the moment.
“I just want to play and wait for my turn. The Big Easy is more relaxed and fun, and it reminds me of the good old days as an amateur. But it does help having these tournaments to keep going, because we keep up with a tournament routine and that’s important,” he added.
Chasing the lead was Morne Buys, who shook off the cold morning conditions and made three birdies around the turn. The Big Easy Modderfontein winner started on the 10th and looked set to lead until a bogey at the ninth forced him back to two-under for the day.
By the end of the day Beyers Smith and Nic Henning had joined Buys in a tie for second on two-under-par. The three players will surely be aiming to overtake Ndwande during the final round on Wednesday.