• NGC 2019: Talking Round 2

    Zander Lombard
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    JOHN GOLIATH talks through the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, during which Zander Lombard surged into the lead.

    Zander ‘blows’ the competition away 

    I said it was rather difficult to overpower the Gary Player Country Club, but Zander Lombard certainly did his best to prove me wrong on Friday. He launched it off the tee to give him a chance to threaten the pins in Sun City. But it was his judgement of the wind, which helped him to outscore his competition in round two and put him out in front going into the weekend. While others struggled, Lombaard was properly dialled in, hitting almost 80% of fairways (third in the round’s rankings) and 77.7% of greens in regulation (fourth). Louis Oosthuizen, on the other hand, could only manage an even-par 72 after failing to adapt to the windy conditions. ‘It was tough out there,’ Oosthuizen said. ‘You could throw the wind chart away. I was guessing the whole day. It’s difficult. His 65 today was a lot better than my 63 yesterday.’ If it blows again over the weekend, local boy Lombaard could be in for the biggest payday of his career.

    Good shot or bad shot, Thomas twirls 

    Thomas Detry had one of the most exciting rounds ever seen at the Gary Player Country Club. It was not quite exciting in the sense of blistering the field and shooting the lights out, but in terms of mixing genius with the absolute daft. After shooting a top six-under-par 66 on Thursday, which included just one bogey and seven birdies, the Belgian star followed it up with a rollercoaster ride of a round on Friday. Detry mixed five birdies and a phenomenal eagle on the 10th with four bogeys and double at the par-four 15th. But what was noticeable is that after each shot – good or bad – he twirled his club. It was quite elaborate when he hit a peach of a second shot stiff into the par-five 10th, while he also twirled the club when he almost hooked his third shot off the tee into the water at No 15. Only the luckiest of bounces off the flagpole saved him from further damage after his original tee shot also found the drink. The golfing gods clearly likes that twirl!

    Being a die-hard Els fan is hard work

    Secretly we all wanted to see some vintage Ernie Els play this week after making his return to Sun City. On Thursday, we saw The Big Easy roll back the years to shoot a classy and effortless four-under 68. He was swinging it like a 25-year-old again, as Els was second in driving accuracy during the first round and top dog when it came to finding greens in regulation. His touch around the greens was also as majestic as when he won his four Majors. It was a round that gave the fans some hope of an epic Ernie Els win. However, the hopes were dashed in the space of 24 hours, as Els struggled to cope with the swirling wind to record an 81 in round two. But fear not, Ernie, we still love you and hope to see you play with a lot of freedom and flair over the weekend!

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