Strydom eyeing good PGA Champs finish

Eye of Africa PGA Championship: day 2He posted two scores on Friday at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship, and at the end of a long day, Ockie Strydom had a 36-hole total of eight-under-par to show for it with nearly half the field still to complete their second rounds.

He trailed first-round leader Andrew Curlewis and a resurgent Danie van Tonder by two shots, a position he shared with two-time champion Jaco van Zyl, and was in turn one-stroke ahead of a group on seven-under-par consisting of Kevin Phelan of Ireland, Zimbabwe’s Mark Williams, Toby Tree of England, Vaughn Groenewald and Garth Mulroy.

“It was tough out there this afternoon,” said Strydom. “The wind was not easy, and it is playing a big role. You’ve got to shape the ball on this course. The greens were a little bit trickier too.”

There were times during the first round, which was disrupted by two breaks for dangerous weather, when Strydom must have felt he had drawn the short straw when the draw was made. “Yesterday was a long day,” he said, “but I just kept myself calm and told myself that it was going to happen. And that paid off in the end and I was very happy with my 66.”

Strydom started his second round on the 10th, and immediately dropped two shots. But he picked them up ahead of the turn with birdies on 13 and 17. He had three more birdies on the way in, with a bogey on the fourth for his two-under-par 70.

Amongst the players who also managed to complete their second rounds was Phelan, who carded a five-under-par 67 to move to seven-under for the tournament ahead of the 36-hole cut.

““It was very tidy out there,” said Phelan. “I didn’t really waste many shots. It was good. I just made the one bogey, when my hand slipped on the club on the seventh because of sweat, and then I couldn’t get it up and down.”

For Strydom, after an afternoon of having his feet up and watching the scoreboard, he can contemplate the chances of a good finish. “I’ve been in the running a few times,” he said, “and I couldn’t convert the chances. So I hope I can pull a win out of the hat.”


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