NJ Arnoldi’s fine form at Centurion Country Club continued as the Silver Lakes golfer stretched his overnight lead to four shots in round two of the Race to Q-School #9.
After setting the first-round target with a flawless nine-under-par 63, Arnoldi fired a 66 on Tuesday to set the 36-hole target at 15-under-par 129.
Dean O’Riley made a strong case for a third title this season with a superb 65 that included a trio of birdies on the front nine, a single drop at 10 and four successive birdies from the 11th.
Wingate Park amateur Fanie Wolmarans offset a double bogey at six with nine birdies to match O’Riley’s 65 for a share of second at 11 under.
Clayton Mansfield and Malcolm Mitchell posted respective rounds of 68 and 65 and the KwaZulu-Natal amateur pair will start Wednesday’s final round six off the pace.
Arnoldi picked up four birdies on his outward loop and surrendered a lone shot at the par-four sixth among three more gains coming home.
Although he didn’t replicate the fireworks of his opening gambit, the 24-year-old Tshwane native was nevertheless pleased to protect his lead and open up a gap on the field.
‘Unfortunately I left the ball short with my approach at sixth and I didn’t execute a pretty easy up-and-down to save par,’ he said. ‘I hit the chip shot too firmly and the ball shot past the pin, and I missed the return putt for par.
‘Aside from that one glitch on my card, I was flawless through the first nine holes, but I must admit that I lost a bit of focus on the back nine. It was incredibly hot and I hit a couple of loose shots. I did well to save par on all but one hole. Like I said, I let an easy one go at six.
‘I’m still in a good position, though, and I’m going to try to convert this lead into a victory. It’s not a gimme, though. The standard in the Race to Q-School series is really high this year; it’s definitely higher than I remember from last year.
‘We love Centurion because it always serves up some birdies, but I don’t remember a time at this course in the last three years where 37 players were in red figures after two rounds. This year’s Race to Q-School is seriously competitive, so I’m looking forward to a nice tussle in the final round.’
By Lali Stander
Second round scores
129 – NJ Arnoldi 63 66
133 – Dean O’Riley 68 65, Fanie Wolmarans AMA 68 65
135 – Malcolm Mitchell AMA 70 65, Clayton Mansfield AMA 67 68