Coetzee leads SA charge at PGA

2015-08-15 07:34
George Coetzee (Supplied)

Wisconsin - South African George Coetzee banished the memory of missed cuts in his last three European Tour starts as he charged into contention for the PGA Championship on Friday.

Having worked hard on his putting stroke after opening with a two-over-par 74, the 29-year-old rebounded with a sizzling 65 in the second round as he took advantage of relatively calm conditions at Whistling Straits.

Coetzee, who won two European Tour events earlier this year before losing his way over the past three months, piled up seven birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to move within two shots of the clubhouse lead.

"The eagle was pretty nice," he said of the par-five 16th where he struck a brilliant two-iron from 260 yards to just six feet.

"I just kind of visualised it and it happened exactly the way I had it pictured in my mind. Those kinds of shots don't happen like that that often."

Asked to explain his spectacular turnaround at Whistling Straits following his run of missed cuts, Coetzee replied: "I've actually felt like I've played pretty well, it's just been kind of mentally draining.

"I think I played too many events and probably not focused enough on preparing for only the big ones and instead I've been playing everything around them.

"But I'm a little bit more rested this week and hopefully I'll have the energy come Sunday."

Coetzee, a three-times winner on the European Tour who has long been inspired by his compatriot Ernie Els, also pointed to an improvement in his putting.

"Today the putts just went in," he said. "I put some work in (on the range) last night and it paid off today.

"I feel like I figured something out with the putting stroke and the putting feels much better than it did the last couple of weeks.

"If you know you're going to make the putts, then you can play a bit more conservative when you have to and you don't take the silly chances," said the world number 68, who missed the cut in all three of his previous PGA Championship appearances.

Read more on:    pga championship  |  george coetzee  |  golf

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