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14th March 2024 | Big Easy Tour

Scintillating back 9 helps Nel to share second-round lead in Benoni

Bloemfontein Golf Club’s Therion Nel shot a beautiful eight-under-par 64 on Wednesday – the lowest score of the second round of the Altron Big Easy Tour event at Benoni Country Club – to co-lead with Vaughn van Deventer on 10-under-par ahead of the final round.

Making his point very on the round, Nel was two-under through the first four holes as he sought to climb up the leaderboard on moving day. His joy, however, was cut short after he made a double-bogey on the par-four seventh. That would be his only costly mistake of the day. He steadied himself up, regained his composure and went about his business once more; birdieing the ninth to turn in 35.

After the turn, Nel let loose. An eagle on the par-four 11th was soon followed by birdies from 13 through 16 as Nel asserted his intentions. He birdied the last for good measure as he sealed a faultless 29 on that nine.

“It was an interesting back nine, I can tell you that,” said an obviously-satisfied Nel. “I felt really good on the course today; I hit the ball well but the difference was the putts. I think I hit 11 putts on the back nine and I think that was the difference. My driving off the tee has been great this week but I feel like today I capitalised well on that.

“I was struggling with the putts in the last couple of tournaments but I gave myself a lot of chance today and I made those putts. So, I am very happy with my performance around the greens. I feel like this course requires you to think a bit but I also think it’s easier out of the fairway, so I capitalised on that today.”

Nel was in the afternoon field and would have caught wind of Van Deventer’s scintillating 65 because the latter was the in the very first three-ball to go earlier in the morning. Backing up his opening-round 69, the State Mines Country Club player, Van Deventer, produced an eventful round to take the clubhouse lead. His 65 consisted of nine birdies and two drops.

“It was a nice and easy type of a morning,” Van Deventer said with a smile. “I made a few long putts as I navigated my way. I hit my driver very well and kept it on the fairways and the two holes where I’d pulled it, I came out of the long grass and made two long putts for birdies. Those were my two highlights of this round.

“My goal today was to try and get it my overall score to double digits. The scores were not really low yesterday and I knew that if I got it right, I’d be somewhere around the top-five on the leaderboard. That would give me a chance at winning because currently, I’m kind of border-line between keeping my card or losing it. But, I came here to win, you know, and it feels good to be in contention.”

Also making the most of moving day was Warwick Purchase whose five-under 67 helped him to solo third on eight-under for the week. His, too, was a magnificent round of golf and consisted of a pair of eagles, three birdies and two drops.

Two shots further lie the duo of Jastice Mashego and Kyle De Beer. Both players weaved together rounds of 69 to get to six-under and four shots off Nel’s pace.