Tour Championship Round Two Wrap: Harding shares Serengeti lead after storm delays[Saturday, March 17, 2018 08:34:49]
It was a round which finished in the dark, and at the end of the storm-delayed second round of the Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates, Justin Harding’s superb seven-under-par 65 had propelled him into a share of the halfway lead.
With the tournament also featuring a pro-am element in the Serengeti Invitational, players pushed to finish even though darkness had fallen, and the final group concluded their round under television lights and the odd set of headlights from evacuation vehicles parked around the 18th green.
“It turned out to be a long day,” said Harding. “I was hoping that because I was first off, I’d get done and dusted quite quickly, but the storms came in. I held myself together and I managed to make a couple of birdies coming in which put the icing on the cake of a pretty decent day.”
Harding shared the lead with Darren Fichardt, who carded a fine six-under 66 of his own to move to 10-under for the tournament. The leading pair was two shots clear of Serengeti member Jbe’ Kruger and Dean Burmester, who carded five-under and four-under respectively.
Harding dropped just one shot during his round. “It was a naughty three-putt,” he said. “If you hit it on the wrong side on these greens, you can leave yourself some devilish putts, and I just couldn’t seem to get it inside a ‘gimme’ range. But I hit a lot close on the front nine which kind of kick-started the round and just kind of kept it going towards the end. I avoided the big mistakes on the back nine.”
Fichardt also dropped just a single shot during his round, and, unlike Harding, he had to finish in near-darkness. “I’ve played in darker conditions than that,” he said, “but there were cars all around the players then with their lights on.”
That happened for the final group to finish, and Burmester made bogey on 17 before putting out for par on the 18th under the glare of the television lights for a 68. It was only the second bogey of his round, and, while he would have been pleased to have got his round done, he would have preferred not to have dropped a shot and been closer to the lead going into the weekend.
Kruger carded a 67, and he will be feeling bullish going into the final 36 holes. He has an intimate knowledge of the Serengeti layout, and the security of knowing that he won the last time he played a professional tournament on the course.
For Harding, it’s about keeping on making birdies. “I’ve obviously set myself up nicely for the weekend,” he said. “I hope the game stays where it is and I can post a couple of good scores.”
-10 - Justin Harding 69 65, Darren Fichardt 68 66
-8 - Jbe' Kruger 69 67, Dean Burmester 68 68
-7 - Neil Schietekat 67 70
-6 - Rhys Enoch 72 66, Trevor Fisher Jnr 71 67, JJ Senekal 71 67, Oliver Bekker 70 68
-5 - Peter Karmis 72 67
-4 - MJ Viljoen 71 69, Alex Haindl 72 68, Breyten Meyer 72 68
-3 - Anthony Michael 73 68
-2 - Ulrich van den Berg 72 70, Tyrone Ferreira 72 70, Doug McGuigan 71 71, Justin Walters 72 70, Zack Byrd 73 69, Jean Hugo 73 69, Rourke van der Spuy 70 (Par) 
-1 - JC Ritchie 71 72, Vaughn Groenewald 76 67, Hennie Otto 73 70
Par - Jake Roos 76 68, Tyrone Ryan 78 66, Jean-Paul Strydom 72 72, Louis de Jager 74 (-2) 
+1 - Hennie du Plessis 73 72, Daniel van Tonder 76 69
+2 - Mark Williams 75 71
+3 - Jared Harvey 71 76, Jaco Prinsloo 75 72, Colin Nel 71 76, Adilson Da Silva 72 75
+4 - Keith Horne 74 74, Daniel Greene 76 72
+5 - Ockie Strydom 77 72
+7 - Riekus Nortje 71 80, Keenan Davidse 76 75
+8 - Lyle Rowe 82 70
+9 - Neil O'Briain 79 74