Overnight leader Warrick Druian and Dainfern rookie Matthew Spacey produced contrasting rounds to pull away from the chasing pack in the Killarney Challenge on Tuesday.
After a superb opening round of 65 at the Killarney Country Club, Druian’s second round 69 was more of a grind, while Spacey grabbed the low round honours with his five under 65.
Druian dropped shots at the first and third, but rallied with a birdie at the fifth, but the former Telkom PGA Championship winner remained patient. After another drop at 12, he reeled in a trio of birdies he finished one under to retain pole position at four under 136.
Spacey lagged five off the pace at the start of round two and blew out of the blocks with three birdies.
The 25-year-old picked up another birdie at the sixth hole before he pencilled his only drop of the day – a double bogey six at the ninth – and notched three more gains on the back nine to finish just one stroke shy of Druian.
The former top ranked Central Gauteng amateur has enjoyed a superb season on the IGT Tour so far with 11 top 10 finishes in 18 starts, including two runner-up and a third place finish.
He broke through for his rookie pro win at the Zwartkop Challenge in July and the solid start at Killarney put Spacey in a strong position to challenge for his third victory on the country’s premier development circuit.
‘After I missed out on my card at the Sunshine Tour Q-School, I was really disappointed, but playing the IGT Tour has been great experience for me,’ Spacey said.
‘I’ve learned a lot about competing against the pros as a pro. It’s very different when you play as an amateur and I’m really enjoying my first season in the paid ranks. It’s been a great education and every week you move the mark just a little higher.
‘I’m really excited about playing in the leading group, because it’s something I always enjoyed as an amateur. I welcome that extra pressure.’
Spacey said he drove the ball better in the first round, but his short-game was on song in round two.
‘I still drove the ball well, which got me in good positions in the fairways and if you do that, you’re going to hit it close a few times,’ he said.
‘But the putter was really working well in the second round and it felt like the four week break I took to work on my short game, really came together today. The putter definitely put me in a great position with two rounds to play and hopefully I can keep it going.’
Meanwhile Duane Keun and Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland registered a pair of 68s to tie for third at even-par 140.
Dean O’Riley shot 67 to grab a share of fifth at one over with Carrie Park (71), Simon Kruger (69) and amateur Fanie Wolmarans (71), while a second round 67 moved Shalan Govender into a share of ninth at 142 with Dylan Docherty, who posted back-to-back 71s.
SECOND ROUND SCORES
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
136 – Warrick Druian 67 69
137 – Matthew Spacey 72 65
140 – Duane Keun 72 68, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWA) 72 68
141 – Dean O’Riley 74 67, Simon Kruger 72 69, Carrie Park 70 71, Fanie Wolmarans AMA 70 71