South Africa’s Jacques Blaauw worked his way through a difficult day of wind and a weather delay and signed for a sublime 63 that earned him the clubhouse lead in the suspended second round of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Friday.
Blaauw heads the field on 13 under par, one shot clear of countryman Wilco Nienaber who was also able to complete his second round of 67 before darkness fell. Play was suspended at 3.49pm because of the threat of lightning, and resumed again at 5.40pm. The second round will be completed on Saturday morning before the start of the third round.
“I’m very happy I was able to finish. I hit it very well all day and then made some putts. I only made one bogey so I’m very happy. It was very windy out there, but I found it didn’t affect my distances that much,” said Blaauw, who is searching for his maiden European Tour title after coming close with a second-place finish in the 2015 Tshwane Open.
“I can’t think ahead because there are two more rounds to go. Golf is the job and I need to get that job done. But I’ve done some good work in the build-up to this tournament and I’m very happy with how it’s turning out.”
Blaauw’s putting in particular stood out, with playing partner Scott Jamieson declaring, “I’ve never seen somebody putt as well as he has for the past two days.”
“I’ve switched to the arm-lock putter and I’m very happy with it,” said Blaauw. “I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s a bit different without spectators, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Nienaber was just as delighted to finish off his second round and remain in contention for this title.
“A delay is never nice, and I had it on that part of the course I really didn’t want it. Those last four holes are really tough, but I got through it. I’m happy I finished,” he said after a round which he held together despite not being happy with his tee shots.
“Hitting fairways here is key and I didn’t really do that today, so I had more par putts than birdie putts. I made it difficult for myself. But I’m really excited. I’ve put myself in a good position and I’m excited to see what happens on the weekend.”
Canadian Aaron Cockerill is currently in third place on 10 under following his 68 in the morning, while Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen is also on 10 under with two holes to play. Joint first-round leader Shaun Norris is on nine under with three holes of his second round to finish.