22nd September 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Wallie’s windy 2-iron grabs St Francis lead
How strong was the wind in the second round on Friday at St Francis Links in the second round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament? Well, leader Wallie Coetsee had to take two-iron from 156 metres on 18.
That set him for a third consecutive birdie to conclude his round of five-under-par 67, which was good enough to give him a two-stroke edge over Doug McGuigan, Hennie du Plessis, Steve Surry and Neil Schietekat going into the final round of the 54-hole event that’s worth R750,000.
“I hit driver off the tee on 18. I was 156 out, and took two-iron,” said Coetsee. “I killed it and it almost went up the embankment at the back, It came down and then just a magic putt. I just tried to get it close and it snuck in on the left through the window there.”
He needed two-iron for that shot because the winds were gusting up to nearly 60 kilometres per hour. And, like the rest of his game, that shot was dialled in. “I still don’t know how I shot five-under-par today,” he said. “I stayed very patient. I just had to keep ball down the middle. I hit all 14 fairways, I made 26 putts. I made all the crucial putts, and that always helps.”
His card had just a single bogey on it. He dropped that shot on the second, but he picked up two birdies ahead of the turn. He made another on 10, and then it was pars all the way until the final three holes.
With the wind getting stronger all the time, he made three birdies in succession to close out the best round of the day. The first came on the 16th, the par-five playing downwind, and then he made two on the par-three 17th, which was also downwind.
Then came his epic effort on 18.
McGuigan was also impressive for his four-under-par 68. He also dropped just a single shot. That came on the 18th, and up until then he’d made five birdies while all around him were battling to keep the dropped shots at bay.
Du Plessis and Surry made 72 and 73 respectively, while Schietekat carded a three-under 69 to get into contention.
For the veteran Coetsee, it’s the third time in recent tournaments that he has got himself to the top of the leaderboard going into the final round. “I’m excited for tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve been out on the Tour for 25 years. I’m happy to be in contention and to be playing well. Excited? Definitely!”