Putter change helps De Jager in Harare

He changed his putter overnight and that worked a charm for Louis de Jager on Friday as he moved to seven-under-par for the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open to share the early halfway lead.

He carded a flawless six-under-par 66 to join overnight leader Darryn Lloyd atop the leaderboard in the Sunshine Tour’s R1.65-million tournament at Royal Harare Golf Club, a stroke ahead of Lindane Ndwandwe who shot a four-under 68 to move to six-under at the halfway stage.

“Yesterday I just had a really bad day on the putting green,” said De Jager, “and I changed putters for today and it did me the world of good. I putted much better and it showed on my score.”

He started his round on the back nine, and was soon into red numbers with an eagle-three on the 502-metre 12th. He followed that with a birdie on 15, and he picked up three more on three, four and eight, and concluded his round with a solid 10-footer to save par on the ninth.

“I’m hitting the ball so well,” he said. “I’m hitting it very straight, there’s not much shape in my shots, so I can be very aggressive with my driver. I’m hitting it on nearly every single hole, and that helps a lot.

“Even on the short, tight holes, I’m hitting driver and hitting it close to the green, and then it’s much easier – I have many more birdie chances,” he added.

Lloyd had a solid round going until he double-bogeyed 16 after short-siding himself on the approach to the 525-metre par-five. A battle to get on to the green included a left-handed shot as he had no right-handed stance next to a bunker. But he fought back with a birdie on 17, and finished one-under for the day.

Ndwandwe was two shots clear of Justin Harding and Jaco Ahlers, who finished on four-under at halfway.

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