South Africa’s JJ Senekal is hunting back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour as he heads into the weekend of the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship just three strokes off the lead at Humewood Golf Club.
Senekal won last week’s SDC Open in wire-to-wire fashion and has carried that form to Humewood, with a second round of 67 on Friday lifting him to 11 under par and chasing the 14 under par lead held by Frenchman Tom Vaillant following his 64. Swede Adam Blommé also came through 36 holes on 11 under following a 70 on Friday.
“I’m just riding the momentum of last week,” said Senekal as he looks forward to another strong weekend of being in contention.
After his victory last week, Senekal took up membership in the Challenge Tour, and seeing his name in third place on their Road to Mallorca rankings has certainly inspired him.
“That’s when the victory kind of really sunk in for me. Now it’s a case of putting my foot on the gas and seeing if I can win three of them this season and get to the DP World Tour, or end as high as I can to get that DP World Tour card,” he said.
Friday’s stiff breeze had a few Humewood locals nodding their heads in approval, but the scoring was still impressive and Frenchman Vaillant set the clubhouse target of 14 under with his 64 in the morning.
“I’m quite comfortable on a links course,” said Vaillant. “My style of play is to just hit my target and not be too aggressive, and that’s what you have to do on links golf courses. It was great. I hit almost all of my targets and it helped me to go low.”
Senekal also felt the sharper focus Friday’s wind brought to his game.
“I played solid and made a couple of long putts. It was tougher out there with the wind but I kept my composure pretty well after I made a double bogey on the par-three 6th and then came back strong with an eagle and made my day worthwhile at the end. The wind protects this golf course and you need the wind for it to play to its true potential. Today was a good show of that.”
And it’s set him up for a tantalising weekend of possibly more success.
“Last week I was protecting a lead. This time I can go and chase it. On this golf course, anything can happen quickly. Hopefully, I can put another good round together and then have a shot on Sunday.”
By Michael Vlismas