Patience starting to pay off for Nel

Colin Nel stayed patient on his way to a three-under-par 68 on Friday and the early lead of the second round of the R600,000 Northern Cape Classic being played at Kimberley Golf Club.

The man who caddied for South African qualifier Neil Schietekat at this year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s just waited for chances to come his way as he eased himself into one of the best positions he has occupied on the Sunshine Tour all year.

His 36-hole total of 135, seven-under-par, came off the back of a slow start on the 10th tee as he made five consecutive pars before dropping a shot on the 15th of the 6,300-metre par-71 layout.

But he quickly rectified matters with a birdie on the 18th as he turned, and two more in quick succession on the first and second.

“Those three birdies around the turn got me back into contention,” he said, “and then I just tried to stay patient for a change. A slow start can get you frustrated every now and then.”

He held the clubhouse lead ahead of the cut by two strokes over Charl Coetzee, who followed up his opening 68 with a two-under-par 69.

“I actually felt I was playing better today than I did yesterday,” said Coetzee, “but I just couldn’t make anything on the greens.

“But I’m sure a lot of players are going to say that, and I’m still in contention and we’ll see what happens tomorrow,” he added.

Rookie JG Claassens, the only rookie to win on the Sunshine Tour this year, also carded a 69 after starting well as he reached the turn in three-under-par.

But two bogeys on his homeward nine – offset slightly by a single birdie – rather halted what could have been a more effective bid for the lead.

For Nel, who has never had a top-10 finish in his professional career, his position offers a chance at reversing that trend.

“It’s easy to talk about patience,” he said, “but it’s tough to do it.”

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