Wallie welcomes Swazi Open lead

Wallie Coetsee says it’s “his year” and it certainly looked that way at the Investec Royal Swazi Open on Thursday, where he reached a 24-point total to share the halfway lead.

“This is my year. I feel good this week and the tournament really starts now that the cut has come. Who knows what can happen this week?” he said.

The Jeffrey’s Bay local treats Royal Swazi Sun Country Club like his home course and loves the Swazi Open tournament, so it was no surprise that he shared the lead with Zimbabwean Mark Williams.

“I’ve been coming to Swaziland for 21 years, and it’s like my home away from home,” said Coetsee. “I have great fun here, and that always seems to make me play better.”

It’s not the first time the 40-year-old has been in contention at the Swazi Open, and in 2004 an unfortunate double bogey prevented him from taking victory.

“I gave this tournament away to Nic Henning a few years ago – I was leading and made a double on the 18th to come third, so this week it just feels right,” he said.

Williams started his second round on the 10th hole and had to dig deep after carding bogeys at the 16th and 17th. The 29-year-old hung on until he was ready to fire, and at the fourth he began a run of four consecutive birdies, which counted for eight points and earned him a share of the lead.

His six top-10 finishes attest to his mettle, and the Bulawayo local will surely have victory on his mind as he faces the next two rounds in Swaziland.

Jake Redman retained his hold on second place with a second round of eight points, and was joined by Jaco Ahlers and overnight leader Michael Hollick. The trio finished on 23 points apiece, and kept the leaders well within their sights.

The leaderboard was jam-packed, with Ulrich van den Berg, PH McIntyre, James Kamte and Ruan de Smidt sharing sixth on 21 points. Jean Hugo took up 10th place on 20 points.

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