Adam Breen is in just his second season as a Sunshine Tour professional, but he has handled the challenges of the Royal Harare Golf Club course better than any of his more senior colleagues as he will head into the weekend leading the FBC Zimbabwe Open by one stroke.
In Friday’s second round, Breen fired a composed four-under-par 68, which included six birdies. Combined with his 67 on the first day, it lifted the Country Club Johannesburg golfer to nine under for the tournament, one ahead of the experienced Neil Schietekat (69).
Breen began Friday’s round on the 10th hole and the 25-year-old said one of the hardest challenges posed by the classic parkland layout is how differently the two nines play, with the back nine being much more difficult.
“They are completely different nines. On the front nine, the par-fives are more straightforward and the par-threes are easier because there are no elevated greens. But on the back nine, the greens are elevated and it is quite punishing off the tee. They’ve been giving us back pins and the greens slope away towards the bunkers, so it is very hard to get the ball close.
“You feel like you’re holding on for dear life and you want some sort of cushion before you play the back nine. But I actually found it quite nice to start on the back nine today, grind it out, trying to stay cool, and then opening up on the front nine.”
And that’s exactly what the second-year pro did. After two bogeys and a birdie in his first four holes, he made important birdies on the par-three 15th and par-four 18th holes, setting him up for a bogey-free front nine in which he picked up three more shots, on the 3rd, 5th and 6th holes.
“It’s a challenging course and sometimes par can feel like birdie,” Breen said. “You’ve just got to stay patient and set yourself up by being in the right spots. I’m in a nice position for the weekend because scoring is going to be tough.”
Citizens of South Africa dominate the leaderboard going into the weekend, with Jacques P de Villiers (70) third on seven under par and first-round leader Wynand Dingle (72) in fourth place on six under.
Trevor Fisher Jnr is on five under par and Ricky Hendler, Jonathan Broomhead, Jaco Ahlers, Jovan Rebula, Lyle Rowe and Sean Bradley, alongside Peter Karmis, who was born in South Africa but plays under the Greek flag, round out the top-12 on four under.
Stuart Krog, with whom Breen is staying, Shaahid Mahmed, Tonderayi Masunga, Biggie Chibvuri and Kieran Vincent are the leading Zimbabweans, all on one under par.