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McIntyre targets Bobby Locke TrophyMcIntyre targets Bobby Locke Trophy The rookie season for any professional is always tough and for many players, the goal is usually centred around survival – that is, keeping their playing cards – so, we look at this season’s rookie chase for the Bobby Locke Trophy. With just six tournaments left on the regular schedule of the Sunshine Tour, the race for the title of rookie of the year is ever so tight. Top of the class is David McIntyre. The 23-year old player earned his playing privileges at Qualifying School but struggled to get into the swing of things in the professional ranks. Out of the 19 tournaments he’s played this season, McIntyre has made the cut only four times, a return which betrays his ability as a competitor. In the course of the season, McIntyre put together a couple of solid rounds to announce himself among tough competitors on tour, such as the second-round 67 he shot at Selborne in the Vodacom Origins of Golf, the opening 69 at Zebula as well as his first-round 66 in the South African Open hosted by the City of Joburg.  He sits at the summit of the rookie of the year standings on account of his South African Open result where he finished 29th. “It’s been a mixed bag of fruits for me,” McIntyre said, referring to his indifferent results up to now, “it’s been a learning curve for me. A lot of downs and some ups, but for me, the 10% of ups I had, stands out.” For one to improve, it is important to acknowledge one’s challenges so that one is able to address those and improve, a fact which hasn’t escaped McIntyre’s mind. “You have to learn every time,” he said, “and I know it’s cliché but you have to trust your process. Stick to the process. For me, this has been a season to learn. Playing with Jake (Roos) and Zander (Lombard) at Zebula was one of my highlights because I learned so much from them.” Learning, however, doesn’t mean having little or no ambition, and McIntyre’s ambition is very clear: win the Bobby Locke Trophy. “I want to win it,” he declared. “I want to win that trophy. And, I want to finish in the top 50 in the Order of Merit. I can do it because there are still some tournaments left in the season so I can still get into the top 50.” He has some competition for the esteemed trophy, however, with Sweden’s Frederik From hot on his heels. A mere R32,230 separates the two players while Estiaan Conradie, Louis Albertse, Ruan Conradie aren’t far off either. The top 10 leading rookies list is completed by Canada’s Steven Lecuyer, Benjamin Follett-Smith of Zimbabwe, Italy’s Philip Geerts, Jacques P De Villiers and Ireland’s Tyler Hogarty.
Sterne in the hunt in Abu Dhabi Sterne in the hunt in Abu Dhabi After having not been so high up the leaderboard in his last six starts, Richard Sterne is happy to be in the mix at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The six-time European Tour winner shot a good 68 for the second round to share second spot with his fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen, the reigning SA Open champion, to total 11-under-par 133 for the week. “Yeah, it’s what we try and do,” he said about maintaining his presence on the top of the leaderboard following the 65 which saw him share second spot for the opening round. “It’s been a while since I’ve been at the top. Listen, there’s a long way to go, 36 holes, obviously, and some really tough players up there and top players. I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully get off to a good start tomorrow and a decent weekend.” His best recent finish was the share of 20th at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last November. Driving the ball well at the first Rolex Series event of the season was one of the things that Sterne believes helped him to make a turn around this week. “Yeah, just hitting the ball in the right places and driving the ball pretty well,” he said. “So you can score if you find the fairways. But I’ve been putting decently, but as I said, yesterday I made a lot of 20-footers, where today not so much. The conditions were pretty similar to the first round, a little windy perhaps today, but today I hit the ball pretty good again, just didn’t make the putts that I made yesterday.” The 37-year-old player who is ranked 281 on the Official World Golf Ranking would want to press hard to become the first South African to win the event since its inception in 2006 when he tees up for the third round today. Oosthuizen is the only local player to came close to winning the event as he was runner-up in 2009.
Four maiden winners on Sunshine Tour this seasonFour maiden winners on Sunshine Tour this season  The Sunshine Tour 2018-19 season has so far seen the introduction of four new players to the winner’s circle in the form of Michael Palmer, Andre De Decker, Zander Lombard, and Steve Surry, and with six more events to go the number could still change. It all started when Palmer opened the gates with the two-shot win on 18-under-par in the KCB Karen Masters in July. His form after the win saw him almost claiming another victory at the Royal Swazi Spa Challenge a month later. Palmer’s win came three years after he turned professional. It took De Decker a trip to eSwatini to get his first win at the Royal Swazi Spa Challenge in August. The 28-year-old defeated Palmer on the fifth play-off hole after they both finished on 16-under-par 200 after 54 holes of regulation play. De Decker’s win came three years after he turned professional. Lombard who, along with Louis de Jager, earned his European Tour card for the new season in November, registered his first win after defeating Jake Roos on the first play-off hole of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula in August. Both players had finished on 10-under-par 206 for the tournament. It took the 23-year-old four years to win after he turned professional. He was a runner-up at the Joburg Open in 2016. Surry of England claimed his first title at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Pinnacle Point where he finished four shots clear on six-under-par 210 in November. The 36-year-old’s victory came six years after he started coming to South Africa. He came very close to winning three times before as he was a runner-up at the Nedbank Affinity Cup in 2013, the Sun Boardwalk Golf Challenge in 2014 and the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open in 2015. Other first-time winners on the Sunshine Tour this season, who have no playing cards on the tour, include Americans Kurt Kitayama and David Lipksy who won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship respectively. The list of Sunshine Tour players who came close to getting their first wins this season includes Toto Thimba who finished second at the Sun Carnival City Challenge in August. Fredrik From of Sweden and Chris Cannon of England were neck-and-neck as they attempted to register their first wins at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Parys where they shared second spot in October. CJ du Plessis and Breyten Meyer were tied second at Sibaya Challenge in their search of first wins. That was Du Plessis’ fourth narrow miss of winning since 2016. Member of the Gary Player Class, Derick Petersen also showed that he has got all it takes to win when he finished second at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final in November and that was the second time he came that close to winning since 2015.
So far this season: Drought-ending victoriesSo far this season: Drought-ending victories Ask any professional golfer what’s the most important attribute to have to win golf tournaments, and more often than not, the answer will be ‘patience’. However good a player’s short game, ball-striking, chipping or putting is, the patience to compose oneself after a bad shot and the patience to keep working hard even when things don’t look promising, is the ultimate key to success in golf. “Just the other day I was thinking I don’t know if I was going to win again. You know, when you have not won for so long, you don’t know if you can do it again,” said Neil Schietekat after his drought-ending win in the Sun City Challenge. He had last tasted victory five years prior and his half-a-decade-long winless run threatened to remove memories of his last victory. He’s not alone among those whose 2018 victories spelt the end of tough times. JJ Senekal’s dramatic Zanaco Masters triumph in Lusaka, like Schietekat’s Sun City win, ended a dry run of five years. He went on to make eight consecutive cuts before a dip in form caught up with him. And then there is Louis de Jager. He did not miss a single cut in his first 13 starts this season and the one cut he missed at the Vodacom Origins of Golf in Parys, was, in fact, paving the way for the win that was to follow the next week. Already boasting two runner-up finishes at the time, De Jager ended his four-year winless run with a come-from-behind one-stroke victory over CJ du Plessis and Breyten Meyer in the Sibaya Challenge at Mount Edgecombe. “It has been long,” De Jager exclaimed after the win, “I think it’s about four years since my last win, so it’s a real relief to get it done.” It was Bryce Easton, Garth Mulroy and Louis Oosthuizen, however, who had to wait a little longer for their next Sunshine Tour titles. Mulroy had not won a tournament since his victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship of 2011 and his victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf in Parys was a welcome relief. In 2012, Easton claimed back-to-back victories in the form of the Sun City Challenge and the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula. That was the last time he was in the winner’s circle. That all ended at the season-opening Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open, however, where he shot a final-round nine-under 63 to equal the course record and claim a one-stroke victory on 16-under-par 272 at Royal Harare. Later in the year, Oosthuizen earned himself the unique distinction of being only the fourth South African player to claim the oldest open championships in the world – namely The Open Championship and the South African Open Championship – after his six-stroke victory over France’s Romain Langasque in the South African Open hosted by the City of Joburg at Randpark Golf Club. He had not won a Sunshine Tour tournament since his 2012 Africa Open victory, and he was also making his first appearance at the South African Open in over six years. Justin Harding’s back-to-back victories at Lombard Insurance Classic and Investec Royal Swazi Open came two years since his last win, and the same applied to Vaughn Groenewald’s Wild Coast victory. Peter Karmis’ and JC Ritchie’s wins this season follow on the success of last season for both players where Ritchie won the Zimbabwe Open while Karmis claimed both the Sun City Challenge and Royal Swazi Open victories. With six tournaments left this season, there are enough opportunities for many more players to end their winless runs, but it will always take a dose of patience.  
Davidse chases second Investec title, but…Davidse chases second Investec title, but… While the main Sunshine Tour Order of Merit chase is heating up as the season draws to a close, things are just as exciting with the Investec Order of Merit of the Gary Player Class where Keenan Davidse is gunning for his second successive title. Last season, Davidse claimed the R250 000 sponsorship for the top-ranked golfer on the Investec Order of Merit while Makhetha Mazibuko walked home with the R150 000 for the second-placed golfer on those rankings. Toto Thimba came third. Now, with six tournaments left on the schedule this season, the race for the top two spots is as exhilarating, as familiar faces battle it out with new challengers. Davidse still leads the pack and will be determined to keep things that way if he is to secure back-to-back honours of being top of his class. After 18 starts this season, the diminutive Devonvale Country Club member sits R60 000 clear at the top with earnings of R262, 080, 43. In an interesting twist from last season’s events, Thimba – who was third behind Mazibuko and Davidse at the end of it all – occupies the second spot. He has played 19 tournaments, one more than Davidse has. The surprise package this season is Derick Petersen. His second-place finish at the final event of the 15th season of the Vodacom Origins of Golf series at Pinnacle Point aided his pursuit of the top spot. He trails Davidse by close to R140 000 with six events to play. However, given the large purses carried by the final six tournaments of the season and the small margins by which Davidse leads, the top spot is still very much anybody’s to take. In theory, Heinrich Bruiners who occupies the fourth spot on a total of R103 000 – and even the fifth-ranked Musiwalo Nethunzwi (R76 292) – has every opportunity to ascend to the summit. There are three R2-million events still coming (Eye of Africa PGA Championship, Cape Town Open and Tour Championship) while both the new Limpopo Challenge and the Team Championship boast R1.5-million in prize money. The biggest among the remaining tournaments is the Dimension Data Pro-Am which has a purse of R5-million. A strong finish from any of the aforementioned players and in any of the remaining events is guaranteed to shake things up. While players like Jacquin Hess and even Bruiners keep their spots in the top 10, new faces have appeared, with rookie Franklin Manchest making the most of his debut season while Yubin Jung’s returning season hasn’t been a disappointment either. Veteran Thabang Simon has had a few solid results in crucial tournaments and his effort’s reward is a place in the leading 10 players on the Investec Order of Merit. The Gary Player Class is the Sunshine Tour’s development programme which benefits from the longstanding support of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), founded in 1999 by Johann Rupert as the official body for golf development in South Africa, as well as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) in a collective effort to use golf to improve the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.
Order of Merit race heating upOrder of Merit race heating up The final stretch of the season is always an exhilarating affair with interesting developments on both the upper and lower ends of the Order of Merit standings, making the end of any season an exciting prospect for players and fans. For a long period last season, it looked like Oliver Bekker was going to win it in what was a trophy-laden season where he won three times. It was not to be. Despite playing fewer events than Bekker on the Sunshine Tour, George Coetzee’s Tshwane Open victory catapulted him to the summit as he claimed his maiden Order of Merit. In an almost similar situation to that of Bekker’s, Justin Harding’s back-to-back victories in eSwatini earlier in the season gave him a head-start. Three top-fives and a top 10 aided his quest as he went on to occupy the top spot while a similar trend of results ensued for him on the Asian Tour where he had a debut season many can only dream of. The chase for the Order of Merit crown, however, is still very open and while it is Louis Oosthuizen who leads, winning the Order of Merit is almost out of his hands, given that he’s only played two events on the Sunshine Tour this season – the South African Open hosted by the City of Joburg and the Alfred Dunhill Championship. He is R1.5-million clear of Zander Lombard but will need to play at least four of the remaining events and finish well there, as only a player who has played a minimum of six tournaments is eligible to win. That is unlikely. Lombard, on the other hand, has played five tournaments and won one and if he, too, plays a couple more from the six remaining tournaments, he has every opportunity to topple Oosthuizen. There are three R2-million events still coming (Eye of Africa PGA Championship, Cape Town Open and Tour Championship) while both the new Limpopo Challenge and the Team Championship boast R1.5-million in prize money. The biggest among the remaining tournaments is the Dimension Data Pro-Am which has a purse of R5-million. Harding, provided he plays in at least some of the remaining events, also has a chance of adding to his two titles this season and possibly claim his maiden Order of Merit title. He is R1.9-million off Oosthuizen but the opportunity is there for him and whether he decides to go for it will be upon him. Depending on whether Oosthuizen, Lombard and Harding play and how well they do in the remaining tournaments of the season, Bryce Easton (fourth) and Neil Schietekat (fifth) also have a chance to clinch the Order of Merit title, if they play and do well in the remaining events. Easton has played eight events on the Sunshine Tour this season, which include his win in Zimbabwe, and is thus eligible to win while Schietekat’s resurgent form delivered him two titles this season. Whatever the predictions and calculations, there’s still some way to go before the Order of Merit is wrapped up and the only thing everybody is certain about is that things are about to get really exciting on either end of the Order of Merit standings.  
Who will be first off the mark?Who will be first off the mark? It is a universal norm that with the new year, new goals, new targets and resolutions are made, and a strong early start tends to form a foundation for an even stronger finish to the year. England’s Chris Paisley claimed the first title of 2018 when he clinched the then BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni – a title which is now known as the South African Open Championship hosted by the City of Joburg and for the first time in its 100-year history, tri-sanctioned with the European Tour and Asian Tour. He would go on to make play 14 tournaments on the European Tour which included top-five finishes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which he achieved in the same month as his South African victory. He bookended his solid year with a top-10 finish at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, a share of 24th at SA Open and a share of 18th at Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek. Also taking advantage of his solid early start to the year that was, was Neil Schietekat. The three-time Sunshine Tour winner came in at 15th at SA Open in January last year and despite missing two cuts in three events in February, he bounced back with a top 10 finish at the season-ending Tour Championship in March. A few other good results followed but the prime moment was his Sun City Challenge victory which ended his winless run of four years. Three months later, he graced the winner’s circle again after clinching the Vodacom Origins of Golf title at Arabella. His biggest cheque, however, came from the final event of the year, the Alfred Dunhill Championship. There, he came in in a share of 12th to finish what was a hugely successful year. Other players who were able to keep the momentum of their strong starts to the year include Justin Harding who claimed four professional victories last year – two on the Sunshine Tour and two on the Asian Tour. Rhys Enoch won the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International, Matias Calderon claimed the Eye of Africa PGA Championship, Jaco Ahlers won the Dimension Data Pro-Am, Bryce Easton won the season-opening Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open, JJ Senekal and Rourke van der Spuy both won in Zambia very early in the year. Easton missed the cut at Leopard Creek but his SA Open third-place finish was his best Sunshine Tour result since that victory in Harare as he now finds himself fourth on the Order of Merit. Not everybody may win a title in the same year but it is clear that a solid start at the early stages of the year is important and can be a basis for a strong season. Who will be first off the mark in 2019?  
Short-game master-class wins it for Lipsky at Leopard CreekAmerican David Lipsky put on a short-game master-class on Sunday to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek by two strokes on 14-under-par. Not even a double-bogey five on the par-three 16th was enough to stop him from cruising home ahead of Scot David Drysdale, with Zander Lombard and Scott Jamieson sharing third a further shot back. “My wedge play and my short game was really on this week. It’s definitely one of the strengths of my game, but this week, I definitely beat the odds!” he laughed. “I hit so many sand wedges to within 10 feet and that’s what got me the win.” The win was his second on the European Tour after his first came in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland in 2014. But he had a shaky moment on the homeward nine when Lombard turned on the afterburners in an attempt to catch him – and Lipsky looked for a brief moment as if he might falter. Lombard had responded to consecutive bogeys on eight and nine with five threes in a row after the turn, including three birdies and a superb eagle on 13. And Lipsky hit his tee shot on 13 into the hazard on the left to leave local fans thinking the leader was feeling the pressure. Lipsky responded with a superb par-save on 13 – thanks to a laser-guided chip which ended up close to the pin, as usual – and then he emphasised his superiority on the day with an approach to 15 which he nearly holed. The tap-in birdie set things back on track again. “I probably wanted to be a little more stress free than that, but it ended up working out,” he laughed. Lombard kept pushing, and paid the price when he found the water on the par-five 15th – he saved par there. But overly aggressive play on the tough 16th saw him make a six on the par-three after two visits to the water, and his chances were gone. With Lipsky’s big lead restored, even the double-bogey on 16 was merely a brief speed wobble. He came down 18 with just a hint of a swagger. “I hit driver-nine-iron on 18, believe it or not,” he said of the par-five which has destroyed many a player’s hopes. “I smashed my drive. I’ve been hitting it pretty deep this whole week, making good contact. I caught it on the last and it made the hole a little easier for me, especially with what was on the line.” To win again after four years was huge for Lipsky. “It’s indescribable,” he said. “Winning is what we all hope to do. That’s what we all practice for, it what we all put in the time for – blood sweat and tears to be here. “This was a tough year for me. I haven’t played that well. I really struggled. I kept my card, but I struggled – I’m not going to lie. To cap it off with a win at the end of the year is so special and I’m really looking forward to big things in 2019.” Drysdale capped a splendid week with his closing 67, while Jamieson battled bravely to overcome six bogeys on his way to a level-par 72.  
Bezuidenhout leaps into Leopard Creek contentionHe missed the cut in the South African Open Championship, but Christiaan Bezuidenhout showed just how good a player he is as he fired a third-round 66 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship to elevate himself into the top 10 ahead of the final round at Leopard Creek. But for a bogey on the difficult par-three 16th, which was the most difficult hole on the course on the day, it was a flawless round which gave him a 54-hole total of six-under-par 210, just five shots in arrears of leader Scott Jamieson. “To be honest, that was the highest score I could have shot,” said Bezuidenhout. “Tee to green, I played flawless golf today. I missed a couple of short ones on opportunities for birdie. I missed three putts inside of eight feet today. So 66 could have been 63, but 66 on moving day is always good.” It’s been a quiet 2018 on the Sunshine Tour for Bezuidenhout as he concentrated his efforts on his debut season on the European Tour. He finished in 105th position on the Race to Dubai to retain his playing privileges on that circuit, missing just seven cuts in a busy season. He finished 14 times inside the top 30, and, while that may not be good enough reward for his undoubted abilities, it was that consistency that helped him during a period during which he changed coaches and went to work on his already very good swing. “I’m happy that my swing changes are coming together now,” he said. “I started with a new coach, Grant Veenstra, about six months ago. We made some changes, and it’s the best I’ve hit the ball in a very long time. I’m happy to see the results showing at the moment.” He started the new season on the European Tour with a share of 15th in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at the beginning of December. The missed cut at Randpark for the SA Open was frustrating, but he is pressing onward with optimism on a renovated Leopard Creek which is a course he is fond of. “I like the changes at Leopard Creek,” he said. “You can see the greens and fairways just need some time to settle a bit better, but looking ahead, I reckon it’s going to be flawless.” He’ll be looking for some flawlessness of his own as he tackles the final round in the company of SA Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.  
Development in focus at Alfred Dunhill Championship(Photo: Heinrich Hembold) The Malelane chapter of the South African Golf Development Board was the latest to benefit from a golf clinic held at Leopard Creek during the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Saturday. Selwyn Nathan, the Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, said this is a good foundation for children to master the game and gave credit to all those who ensure that such a foundation is maintained. “Without the South African Development Board, we would not have kids coming through,” he said. “You can see that the kids are coming through each year that are qualifying through the Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School and Sunshine Tour Qualifying School. The kids are coming from all different chapters all across the country and that is something that was started by Mr (Johann) Rupert and implemented by Grant Hepburn (Chief Executive Officer for GolfRSA) over the last few years. “You can see we have got kids coming through that are becoming professionals. They have got certain life skills. Here is the perfect example to see there are young players starting in good place. What a spectacular place to start. Thanks to Mr Rupert, Gaynor Rupert, friends and everyone around the country who have adopted this chapter and raised money to give these kids an amazing chance to develop this particular academy.” Nathan also thanked professional players for investing their time throughout the year to coach children. “That’s what they should be doing,” he said. “They have a networking opportunity to work with businessmen and they also have got a responsibility to give back to the game and give back to community by helping kids with a great start. The children have an opportunity to mix with their professionals and learn something. We are delighted and so thankful that we can be part of this process.” One of the kids, Dinewo Mashaba said the coaching clinic was an eye-opener for her. “I am very happy to get an opportunity like this to meet professional players and to be part of the coaching clinic. They taught me good ways of playing golf and corrected my mistakes. I started playing golf in 2013. I developed a love for the sport after I watched my uncle, Sam Lukhele. I want to be a professional golfer in future and play good.” Samuel Lukhele, the coach at the South African Golf Development Board Malelane Chapter, also gave it a thumbs-up.  “I am so grateful for such opportunities for children to get to learn from the professionals,” he said. “I am sure the number is going to grow from 47 next year, because we have a number of children from the area who have already indicated that they want to join us. They have never played the sport before and we teach them everything from basics. The development helps them a lot, because they have never been exposed to the sport before. “They no longer wonder around the community and misbehave. They spend their time with us after school and get some meals everyday after the lessons. In the five years of our existence, I can highlight eight of our kids who are now participating in national competitions. They are playing very well. We are grateful for such opportunities and they are going a long way in helping children.”  
Jamieson edges ahead in tight Leopard Creek raceScott Jamieson’s round of four-under-par 68 could so easily have slipped off the rail on Saturday, but he kept his head down the stretch at Leopard Creek after a double-bogey on 14 to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship. He made good on the slip-up on the 14th with a birdie on the par-five 15th and a rare one on the difficult par-three 16th. That kept him ahead of halfway leader David Lipsky, and three clear of the young South African duo of Zander Lombard and 2016 champion Brandon Stone. “On 14, I hit a pretty good tee shot but it kind of fell into the bunker somehow,” said Jamieson. He was unable to avoid the inevitable dropped shot the mistake exacted, but he soon got things going again. “I played well after that to make a couple of birdies, so I’m really pleased.” Jamieson held up under searing heat, getting his round going early on with a birdie on the second. He slipped back with a dropped shot on the short par-four sixth, but regained that stroke with a birdie on nine. Then he made up for the drop in fine fashion with an eagle two on the 11th, where the tee had been brought forward to tempt the players into going for the green. Jamieson succumbed to the temptation with a splendid drive to the heart pf the green and made the remaining 12-footer for eagle to pull clear of the field. “It was a solid day,” he said. “The front nine is the tougher nine. Obviously, you want to be making birdies but it’s easier to be patient out of the blocks, knowing that it’s a tougher nine.” Lipsky had two bogeys and a double on his card, but he kept his head above water and himself in touch with the lead ahead of the final round with four birdies and an eagle. “I thought I had some good opportunities coming in but a double on 16 really put me in reverse,” he said. “But I finished strong, responded well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.” Lombard made birdies on three of the four par-threes, but two bogeys and a double in four holes from the 14th put a spanner in the works of what could have been a brilliant round. The double came on the 16th, which was the toughest hole on the course on the day. “On 16, I was settling down and I just tried to pop a sand-wedge in and then it rolled out,” he said. “It actually rolled left, away from the water, I couldn’t believe that, so I left myself five-foot downhill for par, which is never nice to have.” Stone was bogey-free, but frustrated that he didn’t make more putts on his way to a three-under 69. “I left a few shots out there,” he said. “Three-putted 11 for par, which always stings but overall, the game felt really solid like it has the last couple of days. It feels like I’m in a good spot going to Sunday.” Of course, Jamieson is the player in the sights of the pursuers, and he knows it will be a tough final round. “The lead’s obviously a great place to be but I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself,” he said. “There’s an awful long way to go and a lot can happen in 18 holes, especially on this golf course, this back nine, where there’s so much risk and reward. If you’re looking to make eagle, you can make double pretty easily. There’s a long way to go and, hopefully, I can do it, but let’s see what happens.”  
Lipsky holds halfway lead at Leopard CreekDavid Lipsky of the United States fired a blemish-free six-under-par 66 on Friday to move into a slender one-stroke lead after the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship being played at Leopard Creek. He took advantage of an early tee time and some overcast conditions to carve out his slim edge over Scots Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren, with two more Scots Doug McGuigan and David Drysdale a further shot back on six-under-par at the halfway mark. “I played really well,” said Lipsky. “I actually didn’t hit it that great today but my putting and chipping was amazing. I got the job done.” It’s Lipsky’s first visit to Leopard Creek, and he found himself wondering why he hadn’t come before. “I’ve never been here,” he said. “I’ve heard great things from almost every player, pretty much. And it’s turned out to be a great week so far and I’ve really enjoyed the scenery.” His previous visits to South African have been for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and his game has taken a step up since those performances. “M distance off the tee has improved,” he said, “and that’s down to a combination of things – the strength coach I have been working with and a new swing coach as well. I’ve been really retuning my game and it looks like it’s paying off.” Jamieson matched Lipsky’s 66, but his round included a bogey on the second. “The back nine is the side you’ve got to make your score on,” he said. “The front nine out here is tough. The holes are a lot longer and there’s a little bit of water around the par-five, the second hole. It’s a bit tougher par-five than any of the ones on the back.” McGuigan came scorching home in 30 on the back nine after turning in one-over. “I had nine one-putts on the back nine,” he said after signing for his 66. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.” Warren didn’t take full advantage of the par-fives in his round of 67. “Most of my scoring has been done on the par-threes and par-fours,” he said. “I haven’t played the par-fives particularly well so maybe we’ll try to look to play those better over the weekend.” Drysdale looked as if he might drop too many shots to be in contention at the halfway mark, but he finished with a birdie for his three-under 69. “I had a lot of chances around that back nine,” he said, “but I just felt like the greens were a bit slower today, because it was windy yesterday, and I just battled with the pace, but it’s nice to finish off with a birdie on the last.” Behind the Scots were six players on five-under, including the 2016 champion Brandon Stone, fellow South Africans Darren Fichardt, Dylan Frittelli, and Oliver Bekker, England’s Oliver Wilson and Australian Dimitrios Papadatos. For Lipsky, it will be all about more of the same over the weekend as he attempts to hold off the chasing pack. “Tomorrow, I do the same things I’ve been doing all week and try not to change things up,” he said. “I’ll take the eight-under for the weekend.”  

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