Mafikeng is hardly viewed as the place for golfing enlightenment. But itÂs where Ockie Strydom rediscovered the confidence that has seen him take a commanding hold of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at De Zalze Golf Club.
After 36 holes, Strydom heads the field on 16 under par going into FridayÂs final round. HeÂs three strokes clear of Allan Versfeld.
And heÂs done so with two rounds of 64, a total of 18 birdies, and such low nine-hole scores as 29 on the first day and 31 on the second. He made four straight pars in the first round, which considering the rate at which heÂs making birdies must have felt like an eternity.
ÂYeah, IÂve done well. ItÂs not too bad, really,Â Strydom says with the understatement of a Boeing at the OR Tambo International Airport that shares his hometown of Kempton Park.
ÂI made a few more good putts today. I didnÂt hit my irons as close as in the first round, but I holed some good 10- and 15-foot putts.Â
It was StrydomÂs victory in a tournament in Mafikeng recently, where he beat such experienced campaigners as Jean Hugo and Doug McGuigan, that revived his confidence in his own game.
ÂI lost my confidence a while back. I wasnÂt scoring well, and you keep going and trying, but eventually it gets to you. Then I just told myself, ÂYou can play this game. YouÂve played it for 24 years now, so go out there and enjoy yourselfÂ. My coach also told me heÂd give me a klap if I didnÂt start playing well soon.
ÂThen I won that tournament in Mafikeng, and I went from rock bottom to feeling very confident again. It makes a huge difference having a win under your belt.Â
Strydom has taken full advantage of a very wet De Zalze golf course this week, having dropped only two shots in 36 holes.
ÂThe course is very wet so there are challenges, but if youÂre on form you can shoot low here.Â
But Strydom does find himself in uncharted territory.
ÂIÂve never led a tournament on the Sunshine Tour. IÂm trying not to think about it, and just want to go out in the final round and play the same game. IÂve just got to make it through the final round now.Â
By Michael Vlismas