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On target: accurate drivers so far 1On target: accurate drivers so far While it isn’t the only requirement for good scores in any round of golf, accuracy off the tee, however, is certainly a major aspect of one’s game which should always be on point. While member of the Gary Player Class, Yubin Jung, is perched at the summit of the standings with an 85.71 per cent accuracy off the tee, he has started a single event this season – the Lombard Insurance Classic where he missed the cut. Second after Jung, and with two events played up to now, veteran Adilson Da Silva is the most accurate player this season so far, with 78.57 per cent of his drives landing on the desired spots. Da Silva has history, as he is world-renowned for his accuracy off the tee, having topped the logs many times on the European Tour and the Asian Tour. The closest player to being as accurate as Da Silva, and having played two events or more is another member of the Gary Player Class, Thanda Mavundla, who sits third on 69.64 per cent while rookie and former Wigan Athletic youth football player Ryan O’Neill follows in fourth position. Known to be straight off the tee, another veteran, Wallie Coetsee, takes the fifth spot after his efforts in the Mopani Redpath Greendoor Logistic Zambia Open, Zanaco Masters and the Lombard Insurance Classic. His accuracy measured 68.75 per cent with Sweden’s Jonathan Agren closely following in sixth position with a driving accuracy of 64.94 per cent after the three tournaments he has played. Tied for the seventh spot is the trio of Ryan Cairns, Theunis Bezuidenhout and Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh at 64.29 per cent while the defending champion of the Sun City Challenge, Neil Schietekat at 62.70 per cent, makes up the top 10 of the standings.
Redman breaks title duck with Swazi victoryIt took Jake Redman nearly 10 years to get his maiden Sunshine Tour victory, and he pulled it off in a thriller with a one-stroke win on Sunday in the Lombard Insurance Classic at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club. He carded a final round of five-under-par 67, with a nervy closing nine which included his only bogey of the round, on his way to the win over the charging pair of Toto Thimba and Thriston Lawrence. They each signed for seven-under 65, which left them on 19-under for the tournament and just one shot adrift. “I don’t really have many words,” said Redman. “I’m over the moon. It’s taken a hell of a long time. I’ve had a few seconds along the way, a few heartache moments and to eventually come out and win really feels great. “There’s been a lot of hard work, endless support from my wife and my mom and dad. It’s unbelievable what I’ve gone through. I almost gave up, and now I got here to win.” It was a win which improved on his runner-up finish in the 2014 edition of the tournament, and it was one which was achieved with and enormous amount of pressure being applied by a lot of the players around him – there was a 63 from Keenan Davidse who finished fifth, a pair of early 64s from Jake Roos and Daniel van Tonder, and the 66 from Ruan Conradie who finished fourth. “With the pressure, it helped playing with Doug Mcguigan,” said Redman of his playing partner who finished in a share of sixth. “He’s such a relaxed character and I just tried to keep myself calm, because sometimes you can get stuck in the moment and put a lot more pressure on yourself.” The pressure showed during his homeward nine, as he made three consecutive pars and then dropped a shot to fall back into the clutches of his pursuers. “I made a silly bogey on 13, and I thought to myself that I needed to get it to 20-under coming in to have a good chance,” he said. “I hit some good shots coming in and I hit some good putts that didn’t go in, but I made some that did go in. To finish with a great drive on 17 which set up a birdie and to close it off with a par on 18 – I’m just really happy.” In a week where he carded rounds of seven-under and eight-under in the lead up to his final round, there was clearly a lot bout his game that was working well. But his putting stood out. “I made a lot of good putts, a lot of clutch putts, especially coming in,” he said. “I made a real clutch putt on 15 for birdie. I made a lot of nice lengthy putts outside 15 feet. I was really solid on the greens. “Everything else was solid, apart from my driving. So it was really nice to get that one away on 17. I just thought, if I am going to hit a good one, it needs to be here, because it really sets up the hole. I could see the leaderboard was really tight and I needed a birdie. I absolutely cracked one down the middle.” He made the birdie there with two putts, and then another two on the par-three 18th set up the win that was so long in coming. “I’m really happy to get the money off my back, just to prove that I can do it with guys on this tour that are really good,” he said.  
Redman’s 64 moves him into Lombard leadHe has only had three top-10 finishes in the last three-and-a-half years, but Jake Redman took a two-stroke lead after the second round on Saturday of the 54-hole Lombard Insurance Classic at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club. He carded eight-under-par 64 to move to 15-under-par ahead of the final round, giving him a two-shot edge over Doug McGuigan. There were five players a further shot back on 12-under-par – Keith Horne, Ruan Conradie, Clinton Grobler, Thriston Lawrence and Toto Thimba. Redman added his 64 to an opening 65, making 11 birdies along the way. “It’s been a very long time since I’ve been at the top of the leaderboard, so I’m very happy about the way the last two days have gone,” he said. “Obviously, I’m very happy with the round, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. “I’m not really thinking of a number tomorrow. I’m going to need to make birdies because the other guys are also going to make birdies on this course. I reckon by the time I tee off, I’m already going to be behind. I’ve just got to keep pressing and keep doing my thing.” Interspersed between that rush of birdies were three bogeys, only one of which came on a par-five – the 17th. “Birdies on the par-fives certainly do play a big role in a decent score here, especially if you can pick up the big birdies – eagles,” he said. “But I don’t think I know of a course where it’s not important to pick up shots on the par-fives.” The low scores have been something that he has battled to put together in consecutive rounds, but hard work is paying off. “I think all-round, my game has been pretty consistent,” said Redman. “The short game has been good, the putting has been beautiful, the iron-play has been solid as has been the wedge-play… driving – I’ve hit one or two sort of iffy drives. That hasn’t really been anything in between. It’s either been not great or it’s been perfect. I maybe just need to get the driver a bit straighter tomorrow and that would obviously help a lot.” McGuigan also signed for a 64 – one of four players to do so in the second round. His was a bogey-free effort, and a result of going back to a putter he used in his last victory on the Sunshine Tour in September 2017. Horne was one of the other players to make 64, while Conradie, Grobler and Thimba each signed for a 67. Lawrence, who shared the lead after the first round at nine-under, carded a three-under 69 in the second round. They are all going to have to chase Redman in the final round on a course that can deliver low scores. He’s looking forward to the challenge. “I’m excited for tomorrow, but I’m feeling it a bit because I haven’t been in this position for a long time,” he said. “I’m certainly looking forward to the day and I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing.”  
Lawrence’s best is good for Lombard leadIt was his best round on the Sunshine Tour, and Thriston Lawrence’s nine-under-par 63 on Friday was good enough to give him a share of the first-round lead of the 54-hole Lombard Insurance Classic at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club. He made five birdies in a row on his homeward nine after starting his round on the 10th to close in 29 and put the cap on his 63 – one better than a 2018 Dimension Data Pro-Am round, and a total which was later matched by Jacques Blaauw as the pair shared a one-stroke edge over Aubrey Beckley and Jaco Ahlers who each carded eight-under-par 64s. “I’m very happy to close with a 29, and quite surprised,” said Lawrence. “I started off quite slowly. I didn’t hit it great but I was always there or thereabouts. The putter wasn’t too warm on my front nine. I got a chip-in on 18 and that gave me momentum. I was thinking I had to do a good job to make par there, and I made birdie! “And then I found some rhythm on the third hole where I hit a good eight-iron to three foot to make birdie. Everything worked out very nicely from there. I made every putt I looked at. My putter surprised me. I made 25 putts. I’ve been struggling with the putter for a long time now, so I’m very pleased.” He had just 25 putts in his round, the same number as Blaauw, who closed with an extraordinary run of seven consecutive birdies. Blaauw had started his round on the 10th, too, and had made just one birdie at his turn. He raced home in 28, making eight birdies, and just a single par – on the second – on his homeward nine. “It’s my best-ever birdie run,” said Blaauw. “It came after I drive the green on the first – something I’ve never done – and I just missed an eight-footer for eagle. I made the birdie, and I thought if I could go four or five-under on the homeward nine, I’d be happy. “Clearly, I’m more than happy with what I got out of the round.” For Lawrence, a good start was important for him as he goes in search of a maiden Sunshine Tour win after his share of second in last season’s Tour Championship, and his share of sixth in the Investec Royal Swazi Open at the same course a fortnight ago. “My weakness has always been that I don’t start really well,” he said. “I’ve always been on the cut line, so starting quite hot might give me a good chance on Sunday. “This course, if you hit it straight off the tee and your iron play is good – it’s not a long golf course – you can be very attacking on it. I hit a lot of drivers, so if that goes to plan, you have a lot of wedge shots in. I made it quite easy for myself today. “The modified stableford scoring of a couple of weeks ago helps. You have less fear and you have a more aggressive mental approach for the round. It’s the same course, so I’ll do more of the same for the rest of the tournament.”  
South Africans under the radar in PGA ChampionshipHe won it twice and was runner-up twice, and, so far, Gary Player is the only South African to have won what used to be the final major championship of the season – the PGA Championship. It was nicknamed ‘Glory’s Last Shot’, but for the eight South Africans in the field, it’s a chance now to set up a run at the big international events coming up in the latter half of the world golf season, which include the two major championships which perhaps most capture the imagination. That’s because the US Open and The Open are truly ‘open’ championships. And with the PGA Championship featuring 99 of the world’s top 100 players according to the Official World Golf Ranking – it would have been all 100 of them, but for the late withdrawal of Justin Thomas – it’s going to be no easy task for Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Harding, Branden Grace, Shaun Norris, Dylan Frittelli, Brandon Stone, Richard Sterne and Erik van Rooyen to get into contention. It will be made no easier because the course – Bethpage Black in New York – is perhaps as tough as any they will encounter this year, and the conditions so far have been wintery, and that is hardly conducive to a stirring performance from a South African used to playing his golf on sun-soaked courses. Of course, all of the South Africans in the field have experience playing in conditions like that as they all campaign abroad, and all of them have shown they can hold their own in the pressure cooker situations brought on by a major championship. Oosthuizen has won one and been runner-up in all of them, Grace has five top-five finishes, Harding was a revelation in last month’s Masters, and the rest all have records of which they can be justifiably proud. So, in this most ‘American’ of all the major championships, perhaps it is worth taking a step back from the preview coverage which can see very little further than Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods as possible winners. Oh, there are 15 non-US players amongst the 30 with odds of 60-1 or better, but Webb Simpson at 60-1 together with Oosthuizen? Really? Here’s what we know about the South African players in the field: They will be smart in accepting that the course will hurt them if they are wayward off the tee, inaccurate in approach and sloppy on the greens. So they will spend their time during the opening two rounds being none of the above. That’s not to say they will all get it spot on – no-one will, and there will be some surprising casualties ahead of the cut. And some of the South Africans will miss the cut. But so compelling has been the rise of Harding over the last year – and it’s emblematic of the way South African players can be the most surprising of players on the biggest stages – that it’s difficult to look forward to the week at Bethpage Black without believing that at least one South African will make his presence felt. It’s easy to think there may be more than one, too.  
Lombard Insurance Classic: What’s what 1The Sunshine Tour stages the Lombard Insurance Classic for the 13th time at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club starting from Friday May 17 to Sunday May 19. It boasts a prize fund of R1-million. The tournament was established in 2007. Merrick Bremner (pictured) is the only player to win the event three times – in 2008, 2013 and 2016 – with Peter Karmis winning twice in 2007 and 2009 and Justin Harding also winning it twice in 2011 and 2018. Dean Burmester holds the tournament record score of 23-under-par which he scored in 2015. That’s three shots better than Harding who is second to him. There are four players whose wins had to be decided in play-offs, starting with Grant Muller back in 2010, Jake Roos in 2012, Oliver Bekker in 2017 and Harding last year. The format: The professionals play 54 holes of stroke play, with a cut after 36 holes to the top 45 players and those tying on the score. 60 professionals and 60 amateurs make up the pro-am field. The pro-am competition is better ball medal and four-ball alliance, with two scores to count. The field: 84 professionals, 60 amateurs. Defending champion: Justin Harding. He defeated Jake Roos in a six-hole play-off after they were tied on 20-under-par 196. Harding is not coming to defend this week. The course: The course takes its shape from the Lugogo Mountain Range and is a 6,872-metre parklands layout. The first nine holes are comparatively level, while the homeward nine fully exploits the mountainous terrain. All the greens have been planted with Durban Country Club grass, which provides a thinner and therefore a faster putting surface. The fairways are planted with hardy kikuyu, which stands up well to constant use and remains relatively green throughout the year. Some of its most obvious challenging features include lakes, gullies thick with vegetation, out-of-bounds areas running close to fairways, wickedly-placed bunkers (one of which is so steep that railway sleeper steps have been provided to facilitate access), swirling breezes and clusters of towering trees and indigenous plants. Form player: Martin Rohwer comes to this week fresh from his maiden Sunshine Tour win at the Investec Royal Swazi Open on the same course two weeks ago. He made his intentions clear as he took the lead from the opening round. Rohwer, who got his playing privileges on tour after finishing second in the 2017 Qualifying School, will tee up with his confidence high on the course that introduced him to the winner’s circle, and he will want to continue where he left off. It looks like the Kloof Country Club representative enjoys playing on the course as he finished 21st in the Investec Royal Swazi Open and 16th in the Lombard Insurance Classic last season. He’ll be looking to see if he can follow in Harding’s footsteps and make it a double on eSwatini soil in a single season. Sentimental pick: Jake Roos lost in a six-hole playoff to Harding in last year’s event as they were tied 20-under- 196 after the third round. The 2012 Lombard Insurance Classic winner finished in a share of second at the Investec Royal Swazi Open two weeks ago. Roos was unlucky not to register a win last season as he finished runner-up three more times after the defeat to Harding, but as things stand it is clear that he is still in good shape for a win. His experience on the course will work as one of his advantages as he looks for his second win on the eSwatini soil this week. The bolter: Derick Petersen shared ninth at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club when he played the Investec Royal Swazi Open two weeks ago. He finished in a share of 30th in last year’s event. He came close to registering his maiden Sunshine Tour win when he was a runner-up at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final in November. That’s not to forget his runner-up finish at the Vodacom Origins of Golf San Lameer in 2015. He also has two top-10s in the last four years. A win would be a great breakthrough for the 31-year-old player.  
Roos looks ahead to Lombard without HardingJake Roos was defeated by Justin Harding in a play-off at last year’s Lombard Insurance Classic, but he is happy that his loss opened doors for Harding who went all the way to the world’s top 50 after excelling in Asia and Europe – and the Masters. “If you look holistically at it now, I am glad that I lost, because that win enabled Harding to get an invite into Asia and he’s gone there to do really well. So, I think it was all meant to be,” Roos said as he prepares for next week’s event at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club. He has indelible memories of that final day. His run at the tournament started with a 67, but a 63 from Combrinck Smit and a trio of 65s ahead of him made him believe getting to the top of the leaderboard was going to be difficult. But the 66 on moving day revived his hopes, and he built on that to shoot a closing 63 and find himself in contention. “It was a good day. I started quite far back last year,” he recalls. “I cannot even remember by how many shots, but I shot 63 to get into the play-off. It was a good result for me either way, because I wasn’t really in contention going to the final round. I then played nicely in the play-off, but I just couldn’t get a birdie on the 18th. All in all, it was a very good day and week for me still.” Roos, who defeated Harding in a play-off in the 2012 tournament, enjoys playing at the course which is also home to Investec Royal Swazi Open. He has posted a top-10 and three top-20s over the last few years. “Yes, I like the course quite a lot,” he says. “In fact, I like eSwatini a lot. I like the whole country. People are really nice and the climate is nice. The course is exciting. There is a lot that can happen and there are a lot of opportunities for birdies. I also like the fact that you can be quite aggressive there,” he said. Roos is busy polishing his putting as he prepares to go back to the course where he finished in a share of second spot two weeks ago at the Investec Royal Swazi Open. “I am working on my putting a little bit and I am doing a little bit better with it. So, mostly short game and I did some nice work with my coach on my swing. I think that has been steady since last year. I have been trying to get my short game a little bit better and I think it is getting to a better place at this stage. I’ve just got to keep going at it. “It is tough to expect to win. You have to get in a position where you have a chance, but as I said, I like the course. I will always go back there because I know that I can get going over there. So, at the moment I am just looking to go back there and see if I can get in the running again.” The Arabella Golf Estate representative looking for his seventh win on tour when he tees off next Friday. He last tasted victory back in 2013 at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, but has been runner-up no fewer than seven times since then.  
Lombard first to qualify for 2019 Nedbank Golf ChallengeBy Michael Vlismas South Africa’s Zander Lombard will make his debut in the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, and is the first player to qualify for the Rolex Series tournament following his first-place finish on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit last season. As the winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit for 2018-19, Lombard qualifies automatically for the penultimate tournament on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, which will be played at the Gary Player Country Club course at Sun City from November 14-17, 2019. And “Africa’s Major” will offer even more value than ever before this year as Sun International has announced an Early Bird ticket special for this year’s tournament. Fans purchasing tickets from now until 19 May will do so at 2018 prices, offering an incredible incentive for this leading Rolex Series tournament. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.nedbankgolfchallenge.com/spectators/tickets/. Lombard makes his debut in a significant year for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with the partnership between Nedbank, the European Tour and Sun International having been renewed until 2021, and Sun City also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The tournament also features a number of exciting changes as it occupies an even more significant place on the Rolex Series. The winner this year will take home US$2.5 million, an increase on the US$1.25 million won by England’s Lee Westwood for his 2018 victory. The overall prize fund remains at US$7.5 million, with the balance of the field from second place onwards playing for a US$5 million prize fund. This year’s tournament also offers an increased haul of Race to Dubai points from 7 500 to 10 000. “It’s a tremendous privilege to secure my place in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which is an iconic tournament for every South African golfer. It’s a tournament you really want to play in because of the fantastic local support the South African golfers receive, and then hopefully one day to be able to win it,” said Lombard. The young South African secured his first Sunshine Tour Order of Merit triumph on the back of a 2018 in which he won his maiden professional title on the Tour in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula. In November he regained his playing privileges on the European Tour when he finished tied first in the Qualifying School Final Stage in Spain. “Winning the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit was always a goal of mine because of the opportunities it creates, such as playing in the Rolex Series tournaments. The Rolex Series is the pinnacle of tournaments you want to be competing in on the European Tour. They are a great opportunity for all of us on the Tour who are looking to take our careers to the next level. To be able to qualify for the Rolex Series is an indication that your career is headed in the right direction.” Anthony Leeming, Chief Executive of Sun International, welcomed Lombard’s participation in such a significant year for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. “There have been so many incredible milestones throughout the history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and this year is certainly one of the most significant with the new changes to the Rolex Series. We are delighted to have renewed our partnership with Nedbank and the European Tour in a year in which we celebrate the 40th anniversary of South Africa’s most iconic resort.” The Gary Player Country Club, one of Gary Player Design’s most prestigious courses, will likewise celebrate its 40th anniversary this year as the annual home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. “It’s an incredible moment to see how this golf course and resort have grown together over the years and played a role in not only the developments in world golf, but also as wonderful adverts for South Africa and taking the beauty of our country to an international audience,” said tournament host Gary Player. With total prize money of US$7.5 million, the Nedbank Golf Challenge is the second richest tournament on the Rolex Series after the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The increase in the winner’s prize money makes for two of the most lucrative weeks in world golf, with the following week’s DP World Tour Championship now offering the richest first prize in world golf as the winner pockets a cheque for US$3 million. “We are thrilled to not only have extended our partnership with the European Tour and Sun International for another three years, but to also have entrenched the Nedbank Golf Challenge’s status as one of the premier tournaments in world golf,” said Mike Brown, Chief Executive, Nedbank Group. “The increase in the first-place prize money and changes to the points system enhance the tournament’s status as an event for the world’s top players to participate in.” The field size for the 2019 tournament will be 64 players, which is part of the progressive reduction of the field sizes of the final three Rolex Series tournaments of the season – the Turkish Airlines Open, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and the DP World Tour Championship. The leading 70 players on the Race to Dubai will qualify to play in Turkey, then the leading 60 (plus four invites that includes the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner) thereafter progressing to South Africa, and the leading 50 thereafter lining up in Dubai.  
Brilliant Rohwer claims Investec Royal Swazi OpenBrilliant Rohwer claims Investec Royal Swazi Open Martin Rohwer claimed his first Sunshine Tour title in spectacular fashion as he led from the opening to the closing round of this season’s edition of the Investec Royal Swazi Open in eSwatini. He was co-leader with England’s James Allan after the opening round on a total of 18 Modified Stableford format points. A 12-point haul in the second round saw him take solo lead with 30 points in round two. He backed up that round with another 18 points to take his tally to 48 so that he had a six-point lead heading into the final round. He didn’t relent in the final round, earning himself 11 more points which took his total to 59 and delivering him maiden victory in the process. “It feels unbelievable to be honest,” said Rohwer of his form in eSwatini. “It justifies the fact that I can maintain a lead and play under that type of pressure in a four-round tournament instead of the three-round tournament. Hopefully, I can use that experience in the future.” In a format like the Modified Stableford, there was always going to be pressure from all over and in the final round, players like Jake Roos and Steve Surry who both came second with 47 points, Rohwer showed maturity to not throw his lead away at any stage of the final round. “For me, the key was keeping the ball in play,” he said, “and, hitting a lot of good irons. I never, really, got short-sided or I didn’t really look like making a bogey. I kept things stress-free from that point of view. But I played well the whole week; I stayed patient. I had a game plan and I stuck to it and I’m glad it paid off.” Sharing the fourth spot behind Surry and Roos was the duo of Zimbabwe’s Stephen Ferreira and veteran Jean Hugo with 45 points. Thriston Lawrence’s great form continued as he and Jaco Prinsloo took up the sixth spot on the final leaderboard with a total of 44 points while it was Vaughn Groenewald who came eighth, a point short of Lawrence and Prinsloo’s total. Member of the Gary Player Class, Derick Petersen, Estiaan Conradie and Daniel Greene made up the top 10 this week as they shared the ninth spot with 42 points for each.  
Rohwer tightens grip on Investec lead 1Rohwer tightens grip on Investec lead Martin Rohwer continued with his fine form in the third round of the Investec Royal Swazi Open, carding a seven-under-par 65 which earned him 18 points to take a six-point lead into the final round with 48 points. Unlike his second round where he felt his ball-striking wasn’t at its very best, Rohwer admits that this aspect of his game was much better on day three and was a major factor in his round three score. “Ball-striking was more solid today than the other two days,” said Rohwer after his round, “and I think if I can keep that up tomorrow, I’ll have a good chance.” His first nine holes consisted of three birdies, a single drop and an eagle and in the Modified Stableford scoring format being used at this event, he picked up a total of 10 points there. Homeward, he made two birdies, an eagle and a bogey, picking up eight points there to take his overall tally for the week to 48, six points clear of Jake Roos who is second. “In the first four holes, I think I hit inside 15 feet at every hole,” he said of that front nine run. “I knew I was playing well, which kind of calmed me down a bit and I knew the birdies were going to come if I stayed patient.” Leading from the first round of the tournament, Rohwer admits that it’s quite difficult to stay in it but with a real opportunity to claim his maiden win, he will want to keep at it come Saturday. “It’s tough hey,” he exclaimed, “to hold the lead every day is not easy but I think I’ve handled it well. I haven’t felt the pressure too much except in the final hole today where there was a crowd there.” Roos’ untainted six-under 66 earned him 14 points and he sits second on the leaderboard with a total of 42 points. Daniel Greene is third after he earned himself 14 points to total 40. With 37 points and in a share of fourth, Jaco Prinsloo and Ruan Conradie are piling on the pressure, while England’s Steve Surry occupies the sixth spot with 36 points. 2016 champion, Titch Moore has 35 points and lies seventh while Vaughn Groenewald and MJ Viljoen share the eighth spot on a total of 34 points. This tournament is played under the Modified Stableford format which awards points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole, thereby encouraging and sometimes rewarding aggressive play.  
Rohwer pulls clear in Mbabane 1Martin Rohwer signed for an eventful four-under-par 68 second-round of the Investec Royal Swazi Open, earning himself 12 points which took his overall tally for the week to 30 and retained his spot at the top in eSwatini. Unlike the usual stroke-play format, at this event points are awarded based on the number of strokes taken at each hole, making it possible for players to play attacking golf. Having entered the round as an overnight co-leader with England’s James Allan and teeing off from the 10th, Rohwer started the second round solidly, making two birdies, a par and a bogey in his first four holes while collecting five points there. He picked up another two-pointer on the 15th, his sixth hole, but that was quickly halved by the bogey he made in the next hole. Turning, he went par, bogey, birdie and bogey, a run he would not have accepted had this event not been played in the Modified Stableford format. “As I said earlier, a bogey only counts for one point so you can actually make a bogey and it doesn’t hurt your score as it would in the stroke-play event,” Rohwer noted. After those four holes, however, Rohwer found his rhythm again and went on an uninterrupted four-birdie run before picking up a par on the par-three 18th hole. “Two different rounds of golf,” he said, alluding to his opening round and today’s, “because yesterday’s round was quite solid. Today I made a few bogeys but obviously, I managed to make a few birdies as well. Anytime you make 30 points in the first two rounds you’ve got to be happy.” With his point haul of 20 on day two, Jake Roos made the biggest leap and on a total of 28 points currently, he moves to a share of the second spot with Allan who earned 10 points to add to his opening-round 18 points. MJ Viljoen is fourth on the leaderboard with 27 points after picking up 10 in round two while Jaco Prinsloo and Daniel Greene share the fifth spot with 26 points apiece. Estiaan Conradie’s 14 points, put together with his opening-round 11, ensured he maintained his spot in that top 10 leading players. Sharing the eighth spot is Neil Schietekat and Stephen Ferreira (24 points) while England’s Steve Surry earned nine points to total 23 and make up the balance of the leading 10 players in eSwatini.
Allan, Rohwer share Investec lead in eSwatiniAllan, Rohwer share Investec lead in eSwatini A couple of wayward drives in the opening holes weren’t enough to deter rookie James Allan from playing himself into a two-way share of the lead in the first round of this season’s Investec Royal Swazi Open on Wednesday. With this event played in the Modified Stableford format where the objective is to have the highest score, and unlike traditional scoring methods, where the aim is to have the lowest score, points are awarded based on the number of strokes taken at each hole and thereby making it possible for players to play attacking golf and the Englishman took advantage of it. “I played really nicely even though I had a bit of a slow start,” said Allan who earned his playing privileges at Qualifying School earlier in the year. “This format is really interesting for us players because it really gives you the opportunity to be aggressive. It encourages aggressive play and makes you look at some holes differently, like the par-fives; you want to try and take advantage of those. If you make an eagle, that can really push you up, so it makes the format really interesting.” Making the trip to the Kingdom of eSwatini for the first time as a full member of the Tour after earning his spot at this event via the gruelling pre-qualifier, and despite a stuttering start to his round, Allan had a lot to smile about at the end of his first round of golf as a pro at the Royal Swazi Golf and Spa. “My approach play was really good today,” he said, “I created a lot of chances and managed to hole a few as well, so I am happy for that. I feel like I’ve got a great strategy for this course and it suits my eye quite well so I just hope I can do the same thing tomorrow.” Allan shares the top spot with Martin Rohwer who also produce a fine round of golf which consisted of eight birdies, an eagle and three bogeys. He, too, feels he didn’t play the first few holes as well as he would have liked, but thanks to this format of play which encourages players to really attack, he bounced back solidly to grab a share of the lead. “It was a little bit up and down ball-striking-wise,” he said of his opening round, “but I made a lot of putts, especially from about 10-15 feet, I was really solid. So, I am happy with my start and hopefully there’s more of that to come.” He only made a single bogey on the back nine compared to the two he picked up on the front, and the eagle he made on the par-five 17th had a lot of say as Rohwer shot to the top. “I made two bogeys on the front nine, and obviously in this format, a bogey is a minus one point whereas a birdie is plus two, so it actually doesn’t hurt you that much. On the back nine I kind of thought ‘Well, let’s get aggressive and if I do get a bogey here or there, it can’t actually hurt my score.’ So, I played a bit more freely on the back nine, which definitely helped my score.” MJ Viljoen is one point off the pace and in third position while Daniel Greene, Stephen Ferreira and David McIntyre share fourth, with 15 points.  

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