Makgetha goes on birdie binge at Observatory

It took 21 holes before he made his first bogey in the Vusi Ngubeni Q-School at Observatory Golf Club, but it didn’t make much difference to an imperious second-round 64 on Wednesday by Makgetha Mazibuko.

The 25-year-old Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation graduate opened with a 66, and kicked off with two birdies in his second round of the tournament – named for Vusi Ngubeni, a Sunshine Tour board member and a director of Eskom who was killed in a 2003 motor accident – before that single dropped shot came.

The Bloemfontein pro made up for it by going on a birdie binge, making four in a row before a par at eight slowed him down. But only briefly. He made another at nine to turn in six-under 31.

“My putting really helped me a lot,” he said, with barely a hint of understatement.

And when things cooled down a little for him on his homeward nine – he only made two birdies coming in – his putter certainly helped him save par on a couple of occasions when another bogey could have slowed things considerably.

For example, he was between clubs on his approach to 18 and flew the green. “I tried to pitch the return shot just on the green, but hit the fringe,” he said, “and I managed to make just one putt.”

That kind of mental strength is no accident. “I’ve been working with a lady for my mental approach,” he said. “I’ve been able to forget about things other than golf and just focus on playing the round.”

His round gave him a four-stroke edge over Heinrich Bruiners, who carded a fine 66 which put him three strokes clear of Kenneth Dube, Omar Sandys and Sipho Bujela.

Bruiners got his second round going with an eagle on two, and then another on seven. A birdie on nine saw him turn in five-under 32, and not even a bogey on 10 could wipe the smile off his face as he made two more birdies on his way in.

Dube had an error-free opening round, but three bogeys in his second round slowed his progress somewhat. Two of those bogeys came in his opening nine, and he countered those with four birdies on his way in – spoiled only by a bogey on 18.

Sandys, carrying his own bag and keeping up a running stand-up routine with his playing partners and anyone else who cared to listen, started on 10, and carded a four-under 68 to go with his opening 67. He made some fine up-and-downs to keep his good form going, notably on nine when he sank a 12-footer for his closing birdie.

And first-round leader Bujela, who set things in motion with his first-round 64, battled his way to a one-over 73 in the second round.

For Mazibuko, this kind of form could be just the beginning of a great 2013. “I’m going to play the main tour qualifying school in Bloemfontein next week, and take things from there,” he said.

With Bloemfontein Golf Club and Schoeman Park his regular stamping ground, he could be one to watch there.

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