It’s not often that a player leads a tournament at the halfway mark after a second-round score of eight-under-par and gets overlooked, but that’s what happened to Vaughn Groenewald in the R1.5-million Zambia Sugar Open.
His 65 on the 6,608-metre par-73 Lusaka Golf Club gave him a share of the lead with Rhys Enoch of Wales, who fired a 66, and with Andrew Georgiou, whose 11-under-par 62 was the score that upstaged Groenewald.
Groenwald heads into the third round buoyed by a consistency which started with his first-round score of five-under-par 68, as well as a top-10 finish in last week’s Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open in Kitwe which heralded a return to form after a slow start to the 2015 Sunshine Tour season.
He started his round on the back nine with a par on the 10th, but picked up three birdies ahead of the turn to get things going. “I hate playing early in the morning,” said thee 41-year-old who now plays out of Kingswood Golf Estate in George on the Garden Route. “From there, the putter just worked. I made birdies at 11, 12, 13 and 14 before I parred 15, birdied 16, parred 17 and birdied 18.”
That took him to the turn on the longer nine at Lusaka – it has four par-fives on it – in six-under 32.
“I had a bad shot on one, and made bogey there. Then I birdied two and three, and then was just missing all the way in, and just birdied eight,” he said. “So it was nine birdies today and nine birdies in the first round. Just fewer mistakes today.”
He has won twice on the Sunshine Tour, with his last victory coming in 2006 in the Platinum Classic in Mooinooi, so a good weekend will delight him as he searches for number three.
“It’s a great feeling being at the top,” he said. “That’s what we play for. There’s great satisfaction when we get there. So I’m looking forward to the third round and the rest of the weekend – can’t wait!”