• SA Open: Takeaways from Friday

    Chris Paisley at the SA Open
    Paisley shares the lead through 36 holes

    What we learned from the second round of the BMW SA Open at Glendower, according to WADE PRETORIUS.

    Not so fast

    Many expected Branden Grace to run away with things (remember how Shubhankar Sharma did it at the Joburg Open) on Friday after his superb opening round. The favourite found things a lot more difficult with the quick greens and tricky pin placements making scoring a lot more difficult. Grace told me that he thought he would be one or two behind after the afternoon field was done – he’s now five behind Paisley and Saddier and has plenty of work to do. Not that he can’t reel them in, it just won’t be as easy as many expected it would.

    The legends fight back

    Ernie Els had the day’s biggest crowd following him and he delivered especially around the turn where he followed his birdie on 7 with an eagle on 8. It was great to see a bit of that old magic again but the real star of today was Retief Goosen. The veteran has had little in the way of headlines in recent times but on Friday his play was immaculate. If not for a double on 18, he would be three behind, but the fact that he can shoot 67 and keep pace with the young stars of today, is a real example of his class.

    I should’ve seen it coming

    Two years ago, I played at Glendower in the Sunshine Tour Media Challenge. On that day, I was put up against Erik Van Rooyen with the second pro in my group being Jacques Kruyswijk. I can recall both being extremely talented and humble. Both hit it a mile and had a great take on what it was going to take to ‘make it’. Now both are European Tour members; Van Rooyen graduated from the Challenge Tour and his friend from Q School. Van Rooyen is at -5 after a level par 72 today, a round in which he fought back from a start which included a double with two bogeys to follow while Kruyswijk held the clubhouse lead after a 67 to follow his opening 68. Rule neither out from a low, low round on Saturday.

    There’s a story to be told

    Golf is a wonderful sport with storylines galore. Many get ‘lost in the wires’ for example Adrien Saddier’s course record 63 took the shine of Chris Paisley’s brilliance. Dean Burmester fighting back to make the cut on the number overshadowed Brandon Stone, missing the cut by one despite a late burst for the line. Three SA amateurs made the cut with Matt Saulez and Kyle McClatchie tied on -5. However, one that should be told and told again is that of Musiwalo Nethunzwi. Golf is hard and unforgiving. Players at this level are all extremely good. Nethunzwi needed a break and he got his with a birdie on the last hole to make the cut. He is now guaranteed a pay cheque, one that will at least match his earnings to date of his fledgling career and will give him another season on the tour. It’s a story worth telling and worth following tomorrow and Sunday.

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