20-year-old amateur James Pennington – the number one ranked amateur in Swazialnd – fired a five-under-par 67 on day two of the King’s Cup Big Easy at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club to take a one-stroke lead into the final day.
Pennington’s one-stroke lead over Mark Murless could easily have been two, however an overclub into the ninth hole, his last of the day, saw him drop his second shot of the day.
“Both days were good in the sense that I managed to score and I was able to minimise my mistakes. To drop the last wasn’t the greatest but that’s golf,” said Pennington after his round.
Backing up his first round 65, Pennington began the day with understandable nerves, however those were quickly settled with a birdie on the short par-four 10th.
“I was a little bit jittery on the 10th today and the nerves were there but I made birdie and that settle me down quite a bit,” he said.
As an amateur, Pennington is relatively new to the professional circuit, but he looks to be adapting quickly and with a good performance tomorrow he could match Dylan Naidoo as a Big Easy Tour winner this season.
“You know as an amateur I’ve played a few professional tournaments. There was an event two weeks ago here and I managed to finish second in that just two shots back. That helped me build on quite a bit of confidence, so a victory would be quite sweet,” said Pennington.
On nine-under-par, Derick Petersen looked set to join Pennington atop the leaderboard but an unfortunate triple-bogey on the par-three 14th as well as a bogey on the par-three 18th set him back.
Overnight leader Coert Groenewald laboured to a one-over-par 73, which leaves him alongside Thanda Mavundla on seven-under-par for the tournament and tied for fourth place.