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31st August 2022 | Big Easy Tour

Pepler surges to solo lead at ERPM

Gerhard Pepler will be relishing the prospect of making it two wins in as many tournaments after his second-round 68 in the Altron Big Easy Tour event held at ERPM Golf Club catapulted him to the summit of the leaderboard – at nine-under-par – and two shots clear on Wednesday.

Pepler finally got his win last month at Soweto Country Club and he was still beaming with confidence coming into this seventh tournament of the campaign. His opening round of 67 left him a single stroke of overnight leaders, Ricky Hendler and Christiaan Burke on Tuesday. On day two, Pepler turned things up while Burke struggled and Hendler was not at his devastating best.

“There’s a lot of confidence coming from Soweto, even with after the month’s break,” admitted Pepler. “This course doesn’t usually suit my eye but it seems to be kinder to me this week. For me, the key has been to try and keep the big numbers off the scorecard and to minimise damage. If I find myself in trouble, I tried to scramble and fight to save par. I think I played well the first two days.”

Pepler started on 10 in the second round, making back-to-back birdies in the first two before an eagle on the par-five 13th decorated his card for a blemish-free 32 on the back nine – his front. A similarly spectacular start on the homeward nine saw Pepler making further gains; birdieing the first, second and fourth to get his tournament total to 12-under-par.

Then, an unwanted bogey on the fifth hole (his 14th) took from his gains before further woes befell Pepler as he made a double on the last which left his total at nine-under for the week.

“I was in the middle of the fairway but I just hit a really bad shot,” said Pepler of his double-bogey.  “But I am not stressing about it because tomorrow will be a new day and there’s still golf to be played. I played well today and I hope to do it again in the final round.”

Hendler, Ruan de Smidt, DK Kim and amateur Jonothan Broomhead tie the second spot at seven-under will feel a two-shot deficit can be overturned. Broomhead was particularly impressive as his 66 proved to be the lowest round of the day.

The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout amongst its former Order of Merit winners.