Neck and neck in Zebula

Doug McGuigan and Bryce Easton will take a three-stroke lead into Friday’s final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Country Club.

But both are keenly aware that the serenity of the bushveld will be briefly interrupted by a scoring onslaught on the final day.

A second round of 64 from Easton and a 66 from McGuigan for a total of 12 under is by no means enough on a golf course where the speed of the greens is matched only by the speed with which the leaderboard can change.

Andrew Georgiou is their nearest challenger at nine under, playing better golf with each week and hoping to reach top form as he builds towards a debut in the British Open in July.

And of the top 10 on the leaderboard, only one has failed to shoot par or better over two days. That was Louis de Jager, who followed up his opening 64 with a 73 on Thursday.

“There’s a bunch of players within two or three shots and you’re going to need another good round on the final day to stand a chance,” said Easton.

On a day when the wind was a bit stronger, Easton made his move over the turn. Teeing off the 10th, he birdied 15 and 17, and then hit a seven iron to 20 feet and holed the putt for eagle on the par-five 18th. “That really got the round going,” he said, as he went on to birdie holes one, two and four before closing with a birdie at eight.
“I didn’t finish my first round like I wanted and was a bit frustrated, so I was pleased to have no bogeys today.”

McGuigan has been equally satisfied with two days of supreme consistency, including a second successive 66 and four nine-hole scores of 33.
“That’s a first for me. I also haven’t made a bogey in two days, which I’m pleased with. That’s a big confidence builder.”

Much like Easton, he did well to play holes six, seven and eight without dropping shots. The par-three eighth in particular did some damage to many a scorecard. Allan Versfeld followed up his eight on the par-four seventh with a five on the eighth on his way to an 80. And Theunis Spangenberg suffered just as much through that stretch, with a double bogey on seven, a quadruple bogey on eight and then a bogey on nine, also for an 80.

“Those last few holes on the front nine were tough so I was happy to make my pars there and move on,” said McGuigan, who has been enjoying the bushveld experience this week.
“I fed the elephants here the other day. That was a great experience.”

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