Casey Jarvis fired a brilliant four-under-par 68 on Friday to snatch a two-stroke lead after the second round of the prestigious PGA Championship at St Francis Links.
The 19-year-old goes into the weekend on a total of eight-under-par, two ahead of a chasing pack on six under which includes a pair of decorated veterans in George Coetzee and Hennie Otto.
Jarvis, a star for the GolfRSA squad on fairways around the world before he turned pro this year, was a shot off the lead at the start of the second round. A measured front nine saw him reach the turn in level-par, with two birdies and two bogeys, but he then produced a sensational back nine.
He netted a pair of birdies on the par-four 10th and 11th holes, and then conquered the famous 533-yard, par-five 13th with an eagle. With a tricky run of holes into the wind to finish, Jarvis did well to come home in par and complete a memorable day in his fledgling pro career.
“My iron play was really good today, I struck the ball well and I started pretty solid, but I didn’t make many putts,” Jarvis said. “But then I hit good shots at 10 and 11, where I made a long putt, and a very good eagle at 13 after a great drive and hitting a wedge into 10 feet.
“The wind picked up on the back nine and it was a strong breeze, there was wind on the front nine as well but it was not as hard. From 15 onwards, we were into the wind, so it was a tricky finish.
“I haven’t been in this position before on the Sunshine Tour and it’s great to be there, I’m really excited. I must just try not to get ahead of myself on the weekend, take it one shot at a time,” added the leading amateur in the 2020 SA Open.
Coetzee had an up-and-down front nine with back-to-back birdies on the 5th and 6th holes, but then three successive bogeys before the turn. He was now slipping a bit behind Jarvis, but a precious run of three consecutive birdies from the 12th meant he would still finish under par and stay well in touch despite another bogey on the par-three penultimate hole.
Malcolm Mitchell played excellent golf to also shoot a 68 and climb into the share of second with just one dropped shot on Friday. Otto shot a fine 69 to also sit on six under at the halfway mark, while Rhys West and Hennie O’Kennedy posted two-under 70s to also share second.
But Martin Vorster was the biggest climber up the leaderboard with his 67, the joint-best round of the day that vaulted him from tied-19th into the share of second.
Jake Redman also fired a 67 to sit a shot further back on five-under-par.