Stephen steps up at Tour Champs

15_BET_CHA_RD2_WEBStephen Ferreira rose to the occasion during round two of the Sunshine Big Easy Tour Championship on Tuesday and carded 69 to lead by three strokes.

“I tried to hit as many greens as possible and give myself some chances. I stuck to my gameplan and made some putts, so it was all working out there today,” he said.

The Portuguese national stayed patient on day two and managed his way around The Els Club, Copperleaf in three-under-par, which put him three shots ahead of Bryandrew Roelofsz.

Ferreira had a tidy front nine that included an eagle two at the seventh hole and he reached the turn in two-under-par 34.

“I got on the tee box and knew a good shot would get to the green. I hit it well, but pulled it a little more than I expected and had good bounce that hopped up to about six foot. Then it was a pretty simple putt that I holed.

“The eagle boosted me a bit. It was tough out there and I was biding my time until a birdie came along, so picking up two shots on the field was a bonus,” he said.

The 23-year-old ran into a bit of trouble at the 12th and made bogey, but quickly recovered the drop and continued scoring.

“After the bogey on 12 I knew that the next hole was a birdie chance and I made it, which kept the momentum going. Two holes later I hit driver down the 15th and then ran a three-wood up the back of the green. I left the eagle putt in the mouth, but had a tap-in for birdie, which was nice,” he said.

It was a solid performance from the youngster, who won at Big Easy Huddle Park in May.

One round remains at the Tour Championship, after which the leading five players on the Order of Merit will receive Sunshine Tour cards for the 2016 season. Playing the main tour next year was certainly on Ferreira’s mind.

“My plan is to stay patient and avoid making big numbers. It will be nice to have my tour card for next year and get into some tournaments. We’ll have a few starts and see what we can build from there,” he said.

Roelofsz shot 67, which was the low round of the tournament, to rise into sole second on three-under-par for the tournament. He was confident ahead of the final round.

“My putting was hot today and that helped me to start firing. I like to play under pressure and I’m looking forward to tomorrow, but I’ll try not to think about the top five,” he said.

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