There are 15 Sunshine Tour cards on offer this week and Mahoney put himself in position to claim the first of them when he reached the 36-hole mark on 15-under-par.
“I wasn’t hitting my driver that well, but I was hitting my approaches close and I could only see the bottom of the hole today. When you start putting like that you don’t have to worry about the speed or the line, you can just trust your instinct, which is a special feeling,” he said.
Last year the 26-year-old won the Qualifying School at Modderfontein after finishing the week on five-under. This time around he’s gone 10 shots better after two rounds and is riding a huge wave of confidence ahead of a cut to the leading 60 players and those tied on the number.
“It’s a very important tournament for us, although I was hoping that I would not need to come back this time around. Last year I was five-under when I won it, and today I’m 15-under after two rounds, so there is improvement in my game. If I can get another two good rounds into this week then I think I’ll be able to start off a better season than the previous one,” he said.
The 72-hole tournament is named in honour of former Sunshine Tour board member Vusi Ngubeni and aims to give previously disadvantaged golfers the opportunity to compete on the Sunshine Tour. Making professional golf more accessible to young black players was a key focus for Ngubeni, who was also involved with the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation.
This year’s set of players have shown that the level of golf in South Africa is improving drastically, with Mahoney leading the charge at Modderfontein. On Wednesday he was halfway towards his goal of earning a 2016 Sunshine Tour card, but needed to remain focused on playing regulation golf and closing out the tournament.
“I’m going to try to remain patient and continue to trust in my ability. My short game is really good at the moment and I haven’t made a bogey in two days, which really helps to keep the momentum up,” he said.
Chasing him down was Omar Sandys, who shot 68 on Wednesday to reach nine-under-par after 36 holes. He was followed into the clubhouse by Neo Thubisi in third place on eight-under and Sipho Bujela in fourth place on seven-under.