9th September 2016

Home-ground edge gives Theunis Sishen lead

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2016 Vodacom Origins of Golf: Day 2Theunis Spangenberg took full advantage of playing on his home course in his home town as he carded a five-under-par 67 on Friday to move into a two-stroke lead in the R700,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Sishen Golf and Country Club.

He had a bogey-free round, and his nearest challengers were Derick Petersen, who signed for a four-under 68 with an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys, and Ruan de Smidt, who made six birdies on his homeward nine to close in 30 for a six-under 66.

“It’s a little different taking your clothes out of a cupboard instead of a suitcase,” laughed Spangenberg. “It’s just nice to be at home. The course is five minutes away and I know it well, so it’s really enjoyable playing here.”

Local knowledge has certainly helped him keep the errors off the card. He dropped a single stroke in his first round, and that came about because the wind was swirling strongly in the latter stages of his round. “I was between clubs when I dropped on 17 yesterday,” he said, “but today I was solid. I made a couple of good par-saves and made a couple of good putts for birdies.

“It comes down to knowing where to miss your second shot if you miss the fairways here. And it’s key to stay out of the bunkers. The last couple of days, the guys I’ve been playing with have got a plugged lie every time they’ve been in a bunker. So you have to keep it out of there.”

Petersen was thrilled with his round, but not so much with his bogey on the last. “I duffed my tee shot a little bit,” he said, “and I had about 183 downwind to the flag. I could normally push a seven-iron that distance. But I took a safer option to steer clear of the water in front of the green. So I hit six-iron just over the back and it was a very difficult bunker shot.”

De Smidt was just relishing being back in contention, as he has been for four of the last six tournaments he’s played. “I just holed everything on the back nine,” he smiled. “I had 10 putts there, and it’s really good to be in contention again. I hope I can pull it off this time.”

He’s got a very relaxed Spangeberg to haul in, however. “I know this course can bite you,” said Spangenberg, “but I’m hitting the ball well, and it’s been like that for the last six weeks. So I’m fairly confident, yes!”