Louis de Jager will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend of the South African PGA Championship.
On another benign day by the standards of the St Francis Links, De Jager added a 66 to his opening 68 to lead the field on 10 under par.
His nearest challengers are first-round leader Steve Surry, who struggled to a second round of 73, and Michael Hollick, who signed for a 70, on eight-under-par overall. And young star Jayden Schaper remains in the hunt just three strokes off the lead following a second round of 72.
De Jager did most of his scoring on his second nine, the course’s front nine, where he made five birdies in a stretch of six holes to work his way into the lead as he looks to add to his 2019 triumph in South Africa’s second-oldest professional tournament.
“It’s great to be home and see some familiar faces, and it feels just as good to be on top of a leaderboard again,” said De Jager, who had his fair share of Covid-related travel issues while trying to campaign on the European Tour before deciding to return home to the Sunshine Tour.
And he now has the opportunity to become a rare multiple winner of the South African PGA Championship, a title he says was one of his top priorities when he turned professional in 2008.
“When I turned professional, outside of the co-sanctioned events with the European Tour, the South African PGA Championship was always the biggest event on our Tour. So when I came out on Tour I always wanted to win it, and it was really special winning it the first time in 2019. It would be great to win it twice.”
The St Francis Links course has been unusually forgiving of the field this week, largely due to a lack of the kind of wind that can make it a beast of a golf course.
This as well as a combination of De Jager’s own patience and improved putting form helped carry him to the top of the leaderboard.
“I wasn’t really on form in the first round, and then today I hit the ball well and made a few puts and just stayed patient. But the golf course has been great. It’s obviously built for a bit of wind, but I think it’s a great venue for one of the flagship tournaments on the Sunshine Tour.”