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Nel turns the corner to lead Boardwalk Challenge

Nel

His six-under-par 66 on Thursday at Humewood Golf Club was confirmation for Colin Nel that a run of poor form seems to have ended, as well as being good enough to take the lead after 36 holes of the Sun Boardwalk Challenge.

The 33-year-old Maritzburg Golf Club professional was flawless on a breezy day – less so than in the first round, though – to head into the final round of the R750,000 tournament with a one-stroke edge over Zimbabwean Mark Williams.

‘I’m very thrilled,’ said Nel. ‘Just to go under par around here is good enough, so to back my first round up with a 66 is great. And it’s a bogey-free round, which is what I try and aim at all the time. To do it around here with a bit of a breeze up is great.’

His opening 68 had included two bogeys in winds gusting up to 50 kilometres per hour. In the second round, he turned in three-under 32, and he picked up three more birdies on the homeward nine for his 66.

‘The breeze was a couple of miles an hour less than yesterday, but it was still tricky enough to get your attention,’ he said. ‘If you don’t strike it properly into the wind, it can affect it a bit. It was a little bit easier, but you’ve still got to hit the shots.

‘I hit a few wayward shots today but I kept it in play. That’s what you have to do around a links course, and especially around Humewood – keep it in play and minimise mistakes. I did that reasonably well today.’

As good as Nel’s round was, it wasn’t the best of the day. Williams was also flawless on his way to a seven-under-par 65, a tally that was matched by Tyrone Ryan. Williams moved to nine-under for the tournament in second, and Ryan to five-under in a share of fifth.

‘I’m really chuffed with the way I hit the ball,’ said Williams. ‘I got a couple of lucky breaks in the beginning. There have been a lot of momentum shifts for me this week, and when things could have gone bad for me, I bounced back with a birdie or whatever. That’s links golf. You could get one bad bounce and you can make double and it changes the round completely. So patience is the big key out here.’

Two shots back from Williams was last season’s rookie of the year Christiaan Bezuidenhout after he carded five-under-par 67 in a round that included a bogey and a double. He was one shot clear of this year’s Zimbabwe Open winner JC Ritchie, who signed for a 68.

Up ahead, Nel is looking for his second Sunshine Tour victory. His maiden win came in the 2014 wind-abbreviated Wild Waves Golf Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun.

He’s relishing the task at hand. ‘I’m looking forward to it,’ he said. ‘I haven’t had to think about being in contention in the final round for the last few weeks, but it’s good to have this round behind me going into the last 18. I was just trying to play it one hole at a time, and not worry about the score or anything. It seemed to work, so that will be the game plan tomorrow again.’

Picture of Nel courtesy of Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

Second round scores:
134 – Colin Nel 68 66
135 – Mark Williams 70 65
137 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout 70 67
138 – JC Ritchie 70 68
139 – Breyten Meyer 71 68, Tyrone Ryan 74 65, Anthony Michael 70 69, Hennie Otto 69 70
140 – Jared Harvey 70 70, Bryandrew Roelofsz 70 70, Andrew Curlewis 69 71
141 – Christiaan Basson 70 71, Jake Roos 74 67
142 – Stefan Engell Andersen 71 71, Merrick Bremner 72 70, Theunis Spangenberg 71 71, Desne van den Bergh 73 69, Hennie du Plessis 69 73, Louis de Jager 70 72
143 – Jaco Prinsloo 72 71, Vaughn Groenewald 74 69, Ockie Strydom 76 67, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 71, Wynand Dingle 72 71, Andre De Decker 74 69, Francois Coetzee 69 74, Ruan de Smidt 73 70
144 – Steve Surry 72 72, Combrinck Smit 71 73, Scott Campbell 71 73, Madalitso Muthiya 75 69, Jason Diab 72 72, Lyle Rowe 71 73, Ulrich van den Berg 74 70, Altaaf Bux 74 70, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu 70 74
145 – Wallie Coetsee 72 73, Michael Hollick 74 71, Peter Karmis 74 71, Gert Myburgh 74 71, Doug McGuigan 75 70, Alex Haindl 73 72, Jonathan Agren 75 70, Irvin Mazibuko 72 73, Jake Redman 70 75, Antonio Rosado 69 76

Missed the cut:

146 – Jacquin Hess 73 73, Callum Mowat 74 72, Herman Loubser 75 71, Rhys West 74 72, JJ Senekal 75 71, Stuart Smith 75 71, Kevin Stone 74 72, Damon Stephenson 73 73, Keenan Davidse 70 76, Titch Moore 75 71, Martin Rohwer 77 69, Dwayne Basson 71 75
147 – Tyrone Ferreira 73 74, Neil Schietekat 74 73, Danie Van Niekerk 77 70, Jaco Mouton 68 79, James Kamte 75 72, Jacques P de Villiers 73 74, Justin Harding 76 71
148 – Andre Nel 71 77, Jean Hugo 77 71, Matias Calderon 79 69, Omar Sandys 71 77, Oliver Bekker 74 74, Matthew Spacey 76 72, Jason Roets 71 77, Charl Coetzee 77 71
149 – Lindani Ndwandwe 77 72, Matthew Carvell 76 73, Ryan Tipping 80 69, Matthew Rushton 80 69, Jason Smith 73 76, Martin Rominger 76 73
150 – Rourke van der Spuy 75 75, Jason Froneman 79 71, PH McIntyre 76 74, Andrew van der Knaap 82 68, Dongkwan Kim 75 75, Sean Bradley 80 70, Thanda Mavundla 79 71, Dayne Moore 77 73
151 – Bradford Vaughan 75 76, N.J. Arnoldi 75 76, Chris Swanepoel 79 72, Allister de Kock 75 76
152 – Coert Groenewald 75 77, Luke Jerling 79 73, Stephen Ferreira 78 74, Ruan Huysamen 77 75, Gerard du Plooy 79 73, Duane Keun 74 78, Allan Versfeld 73 79, Heinrich Bruiners 75 77
153 – MJ Viljoen 77 76, Garth Mulroy 77 76, Cameron Esau 81 72
154 – Musiwalo Nethunzwi 74 80
155 – CJ du Plessis 78 77, Steven Ferreira 82 73, Matthew Thompson 77 78
158 – Sipho Bujela 83 75
159 – Adriel Poonan 78 81
160 – Aubrey Beckley 81 79, Jean-Paul Strydom 83 77
164 – Jason Viljoen 79 85, Mohit Mediratta 82 82


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