Ockie Strydom played with the freedom of being pain-free after a back injury and earned himself a two-stroke lead going into the weekend of the Stella Artois Players Championship.
Strydom signed for a second round of 63 that carried him to 13 under par on Friday. His nearest challenger is Jaco Ahlers on 11 under after a 67. Keith Horne and defending champion Jaco Prinsloo are well placed on 10 under par.
But as much as Strydom’s aware of how much golf is still left to be played in this tournament, he is simply relishing not having to struggle with back pain.
“It was fun out there,” he said. “I’m pain-free and loving it. I’ve had back injuries for a long time and after the Limpopo Championship, I went to see a specialist. I didn’t need surgery, but I had a procedure and I can’t tell you how much fun it is to play golf without pain and feel like the body can move in the position you need it to. It’s just been a joy to play golf again because I know my golf is on form at the moment.”
His putter was also on form on Friday, including a 25-footer for eagle on the 18th.
“It’s nice to roll in some putts for a change. I’ve been struggling with my putting but have been working hard on it.”
Much like last year, the scoring has once again been low in this tournament, but not as low as Strydom expected it to be.
“It’s not a long golf course and last year it felt like some of the guys were going crazy around here. This year it’s a bit different with all the rain we’ve had. It’s a lot softer but the greens are still quick. They’re extremely fast and I think over the weekend it will be survival of the fittest out there.”