Jonathan Broomhead did not have the services of a hot putter and it was a tougher, windier day at Umhlali Country Club on Thursday, but the Sunshine Tour rookie still managed to hang on to the lead after the second round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun Sibaya.
The 22-year-old will go into the final round with a narrow one-stroke lead after following up his wonderful 63 on the opening day with a one-over-par 72 on Thursday.
Broomhead is on seven under for the tournament and will have to hold off the challenges of Christiaan Burke (six under), Keenan Davidse (five under) and Doug McGuigan and Luke Jerling (both four under).
But the way he held his round together amidst great frustration on Thursday augurs well for his composure in the final round as he chases a maiden professional title.
“It was a tough day and it is hard to stay calm under pressure. The wind was up today, it blew a lot harder and from the other direction, so it was a lot more tricky out there today,” Broomhead said.
“I hit the ball fine, but I just really struggled with my putting. I didn’t make nearly as many putts as on the first day. It was not an easy round. I was in a couple of spots I should not have hit into, but I held on quite nicely.”
Broomhead began his round on Thursday with a bogey at the par-four 1st and he was two-over through five holes. But back-to-back birdies around the turn and another at the par-four 14th partially offset two more bogeys on the back nine.
Burke started on the 10th and was three under when he reached the turn, but a bogey on the par-four 9th cost him a share of the lead, leaving him with a 69.
Davidse also shot 69 including an eagle at the par-five 13th, his fourth hole, while veteran McGuigan dropped just one shot and posted a 66, the joint low-round of the day, to roar up the leaderboard.
As tough as Thursday was, Broomhead knows Friday’s final round could be even more daunting because talk of even stronger winds is being bandied about the scenic course just 20 minutes north of Durban.
“The weather forecast is apparently not so good in terms of even more wind,” he said. “There are a few other things to worry about too and obviously there are going to be nerves leading in the final round. But I believe nerves are good and I won’t be looking too far ahead. I’ve got my processes and I will just stick to those.”
Photo: Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour