Tjaart hunting at Cape Town Open

Tjaart van der Walt has been working hard this year and he’s confident that the hours will pay off when he hunts down Lion of Africa Cape Town Open leader Hennie Otto this weekend.


“I’ve been putting in a lot of hours on and off the course working with a new coach, Alan Thompson,” said van der Walt. “There’s new technology in my swing and I’m looking forward to giving myself more opportunities to chase Hennie and not just let him run away with it.”


During his 17 years as a professional the 39-year-old has campaigned on the Sunshine and European Tours. He’s spent most of 2013 reshaping his game and on Friday it clicked, which led to a second-round 69 for a share of second heading into the weekend.


“We’ve made some changes that we expect to produce better shots under pressure. The putting has been a work in progress and hopefully we can continue making some nice six to eight footers,” he said.


With 34 Sunshine Tour top-10s to his name, Van der Walt knows what to expect from the next two rounds. While he’s four off the pace, Saturday is moving day and the confidence is up.


“If anyone comes out of the pack it will probably be Hennie and I again, but we’re chatting as we go, so it’s quite relaxed. We both get in our own way sometimes, so if we can stay in our comfort zone then we should do okay,” he said.


Otto defied the blustery conditions at Royal Cape Golf Club with a bogey-free 68 on Friday and stretched his lead to four strokes. On a 10-under-par total, the three-time European Tour winner was keen to take his good form into the weekend.


“The last couple of months I’ve played well, so I’m just trying to get in day by day and keep the momentum going. Confidence is a big thing and I’ve got a lot of confidence at the moment, so that helps,” he said.


The 2011 South African Open Championship winner started on the back nine and birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th to turn at three-under. A final birdie at the second set him at 10-under.


“I tried to keep it together, because they said the wind was going to pick up and it did. There was nearly a four-club wind at one stage. I’m playing well and just trying to take it day by day and see what happens,” he said.


Omar Sandys recovered from a dismal start when he birdied the final three holes, making it to the clubhouse tied for second on six-under-par. The Welkom local had an outward nine of 38 shots and then went five shots better over the back stretch.


“I’m really pleased with the way I hung in there and came back after such a bad start today,” he said.


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