The one under par England’s Lily May Humphreys carded on the tough Montagu layout was enough to give her a share of the 36-hole lead in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am.
After a bogey-free four-under-par 68 in the first round on Outeniqua, Humphreys dropped her first shot of the Sunshine Ladies Tour event on the 16th to spoil what was looking to be a clean sheet heading into the final round.
And that lone bogey let France’s Anne-Lise Caudal into a share of the lead after she signed for a four-under-par 68 on Outeniqua.
The 40 professionals have played a round on each of Outeniqua and Montagu, and the cut was made to the top 20 and ties, who will play the final round on Montagu in pursuit of the winner’s share of the R2.5-million prize fund.
It was her one bad tee shot that cost the English woman the sole lead.
“I hit a three-iron off the tee on 16 specifically to avoid the fairway bunker,” said Humphreys, “and I hit it straight in there. I hit three-iron quite a few times off the tee, actually and it was the only time I didn’t hit it well.”
There were other parts of her game that were working well: “I rolled a nice putt in on the first to get things going, and I putted fairly well throughout the round. It just felt a little slow out there, so while I’m happy to be under-par on Montagu, I feel as if it could have been better.”
Caudal’s feelings after the second round were something of a contrast.
“I’m very happy with my two rounds,” said the 2019 Jabra Ladies Classic champion. “Today, I didn’t hit the ball that well on the first nine, and I got a bit annoyed. Luckily, my caddie kept me calm, and then I had a nice eagle on 11 and that put me back in a nice mood. From 13, I started to hit the ball a bit better, and closer to the hole.”
She racked up birdies on 14 and 15, and when what looked like a two-stroke lead for Humphreys was reduced to one, she birdied the 17th for a share of pole position.
Caudal and Humphreys are three clear of South African duo, Zethu Myeki and Lee-Anne Pace, who share third on two under par after respective rounds of 72 on Montagu and 71 on Outeniqua.
Norwegian Michelle Forsland and Kristyna Napoleaova of the Czech Republic are a further shot adrift in tied fifth.
For Humphreys, there will be only a slight refinement of the gameplan for the final round.
“When you’re leading, you tend to play your own game and just try to push a little further ahead all the time,” she said. “It’s good that I played Montagu today ahead of the final round on the same course tomorrow, because I know how it’s playing now, and it’s very different from when I practiced on it on Wednesday.
“It’s harder to stop the ball on the greens on Montagu than it is on Outeniqua, and the greens are a lot quicker after three days of tournament play from the men on them.”
Caudal is hoping that the change in her fortunes on the back nine in the second round will carry through to the final round. “I’m very happy with my short game,” she said, “and I hope I can hit the ball like I did in the first round. It’s great to be back in South Africa and to be playing at Fancourt.”
Meanwhile, the betterball team competition cut was made to the top 10 teams who will contest the R100,000 prize money of the table.
Nobuhle Dlamini and Shaneen Coppin carded 68 on the Outeniqua Course to retain their overnight lead but had to make space at the top for Caudal and amateur partner Tracy Coetzee, after the pair combined for 65.
Myeki and Napoleaova loom at eight-under, with Michelle Forsland from Norway and Germany’s Carolin Kaufmann a further shot back.
Pace finished in the group at six under with fellow South Africans Lejan Lewthwaite, Kelsey Nicholas and rookie Gabbi Venter.