Vaughn Groenewald rode a three-birdie streak on Friday to set up his second consecutive four-under-par 66, taking a share of the lead into the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
He made five birdies and a bogey, and that was precisely what Jean Hugo made as he, too, carded his second 66 in a row to top the leaderboard.
“I had a good start today,” said Groenewald. “I birdied two, three and four, and then on five, six and seven, I missed a couple of putts. But it’s all out there – so it’s going to be good tomorrow.
“My game was a bit rusty on the first day we got here, but it’s all coming back. And if the wind blows tomorrow, it’s going to be good. It’s actually easier for me playing in the wind,” he added.
And Hugo is a player who also relished the challenges posed by the winds that make coastal courses such different animals to their inland counterparts. “It was tough out there,” said Hugo, “bit it was actually nice. If you play well, you can still score. You had to trust your yardage and what the wind did.
“I played better today than my score reflected. I got the same score as yesterday, but I thought it was better today. But it’s nice to be in the hunt again. It’s nice to be back, and I’m sure the guys are going to go hard tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens.”
Most of the players will be keeping their eyes on what Hugo does: He’s won 11 of the Vodacom Origins of Golf titles over his career, and it has been instructive to watch him ease his way into position to strike as the tournament progresses.
Groenewald is equally experienced, with 21 years on the Sunshine Tour behind him. “The whole thing is you’ve got to trust yourself,” he said. “From that, you learn, and you play to your true potential. You play within yourself. You don’t try to hit shots that you’ll never hit at home.”
There is a trio of golfers one shot back. It is a mix of youth in Christiaan Bezuidenhout and experience in Madalitso Muthiya – and 31-year-old Ockie Strydom who somehow seems to have a bit of both in his game.
Whatever, happens, they will have to take risks in chasing down the leading duo.