Fichardt, Harding share lead
Darren Fichardt (Gallo Images)
George - Darren Fichardt and Justin Harding share the lead after the second-day of the Vodacom Business Origins Goes Easy Final on Thursday, played at the Oubaai Golf Club in George on Thursday.
But it was a 17-year-old amateur who stole the show.
Harding retained his place at the top of the leaderboard on six-under par with a solid two-under 70 on another cold, overcast day with intermittent rain. Fichardt forced his way into a tie with a bogey-free 66.
The pair are three strokes clear of Ryan Cairns, Merrick Bremner and Alan Michell.
But even Fichardt had to marvel at the 11-under-par 61 produced by 17-year-old amateur Brandon Stone, who was playing alongside him in this pro-am series.
"He played unbelievable golf. He made the course look silly," said Fichardt.
Stone, the son of former touring professional Kevin Stone, is one of the country's rising amateur stars, and he has a penchant for low scores.
Earlier this year he shot 62 on another Ernie Els-designed course, Gardener Ross in Pretoria. That was a week before the first Business Origins Goes Easy tournament of the year, with Jean Hugo shooting 62 in the final round to win.
"It was an amazing day," said Stone, who started his round by holing his chip shot on the 10th for eagle. "But I'm glad I'm not a professional because I'm still too nervous to play alongside these guys. Darren shot 66 and I was off the club tees while he was playing off the pro tees further back. So that was just as amazing to watch." And Fichardt provided the young amateur with a key lesson to this golf course, namely how to limit the mistakes.
"I made no bogeys, which is important on this golf course. And I was one of the lucky ones to stay dry," he said.
Harding had a similar message with his 70, which keeps him in the hunt for a maiden title on the Sunshine Tour.
"There was no real magic out there. I managed my game well and did what I needed to do." he said.
Harding is leading a professional tournament for the first time in his career and admits to feeling slightly nervous.
Fichardt is also relishing being in contention again.
"The last seven tournaments I've had about six top tens and a 14th place. I've been playing well but not getting everything together, which is a bit frustrating".