Kempton Park - Ockie Strydom moved to Serengeti Golf and Lifestyle Estate a little over a year ago and admits the little course-knowledge he has amassed during that time helped him a lot on his way to a nine-under 63 second-round of the Tour Championship which is hosted there.
That score catapulted him to the summit of the leaderboard on a total of 12-under for the week, and with a two-shot lead over Brandon Stone heading into the weekend. While the weather was kind when he and most of the field were out on the course, the round had to be suspended due to dangerous weather conditions which began to develop around noon.
"It's always nice playing on your home course," said Strydom "If I'd made all my putts on the front nine, I probably would have shot a 28 there. I know the course and I know the greens here, so if I hit it on the right spots, I'll generally knock it in."
Strydom looked comfortable from the start on day two, refusing to let any bogey come onto his card, and instead, walking away with a birdie and an eagle on the front nine. But it was on the homeward stretch where he turned things up a little bit.
He made back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes and after the par he made on 13, another birdie found its way onto his card. He made par on 15 before bagging three more birdies on the trot to finish bogey-free and take the lead for the first time in this tournament.
"You have to stay patient, however," he said. "Because things were a little bit slow on the front nine but I was patient enough and sometimes things will work better on the back nine there."
Things definitely worked better for him coming home.
Stone was equally impressive en route to his seven-under 65 round which took his total to 10-under for the week. Teeing off the 10th, his front start was a lot different to Strydom's. He made five birdies there to turn in 31 and without a bogey too. Coming home on the other side of the course, Stone made bogey on his 11th hole, the second of the course.
That was quickly forgotten as he made up for that with a birdie on the next hole. He kept things steady for the next four holes, making important pars to keep the round alive. Then, on his second-last hole, a much-welcomed eagle got onto his card to take his total to 10-under and leaving him just two shots off Strydom's lead.
"I probably had more one-putts in this round of golf than the entire season combined," said Stone after his round.
"But any time you shoot a 65 you can’t really complain or moan about anything. I played solid golf, read the lines nicely and rolled the ball a little better. They found the hole today because it seemed they had been afraid of the dark for the last couple of months, so it was nice to see those putts disappear."
The defending champion, Jean-Paul Strydom and Thriston Lawrence are tied for third at nine-under-par.
132 - Ockie Strydom 69 63
134 - Brandon Stone 69 65
135 - Thriston Lawrence 67 68, Jean-Paul Strydom 66 69
136 - Haydn Porteous 67 69, Luke Jerling 68 68
137 - Daniel van Tonder 70 67, Deon Germishuys 68 69, Jacques Kruyswijk 69 68, Garrick Higgo 67 70
139 - Daniel Greene 67 72, Darren Fichardt 73 66, James Hart du Preez 68 71, Keenan Davidse 71 68, Jacques Blaauw 69 70, Martin Rohwer 71 68
140 - Christiaan Basson 68 72, MJ Viljoen 73 67, Alex Haindl 72 68, George Coetzee 73 67, Hennie du Plessis 70 70
141 - Jaco Prinsloo 74 67, Keith Horne 70 71, Jake Redman 70 71, Toto Thimba Jnr 72 69, Merrick Bremner 75 66
142 - Rhys Enoch 67 75, Steve Surry 75 67
143 - JC Ritchie 69 74, Ruan Conradie 73 70
144 - Oliver Bekker 74 70, Jean Hugo 72 72, Jaco Van Zyl 73 71
145 - Louis de Jager 76 69, CJ du Plessis 73 72
146 - Jake Roos 75 71, Dylan Naidoo 75 71
148 - Stephen Ferreira 76 72, Callum Mowat 76 72
152 - Estiaan Conradie 77 75
154 - Ruan de Smidt 78 76