Sunshine Tour

Ruan races ahead in Sun City

2014-11-05 18:06
Ruan de Smidt (Gallo Images)
Sun City - Ruan de Smidt has pulled away from the pack with a second-round 64 on Wednesday at the Nedbank Affinity Cup, where he set out a two-shot lead ahead of the final round.

The 25-year-old became an immediate contender on the circuit after he won the 2012 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School. In his rookie year he won the Suncoast Classic and finished 30th on the Order of Merit, which proved his ability to stand up to the big guns. There was no doubt that De Smidt had the talent to go far.

Fast forward to 2014 and De Smidt has matured into a player who rises into contention often. His latest result was a tie for fourth place at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final last week.

The Krugersdorp local has made significant progress on tour and that is an indicator of how he is maturing. He recently got engaged and that has given him a grounded approach to competition.

This week his brother Darin is on the bag and that’s helping De Smidt’s self-confidence, which appears to be the last rung he needs to climb before rising to stardom.

“It was a good day out there and I’m definitely pleased,” he said. “My brother Darin is on the bag this week and I’ve saved a few shots because of him. He’s helped me a lot with confidence, which is working out so far.”

The other players have nicknamed him ‘hands’ because he has the softest touch around the greens, and on Wednesday his short game was on point.

“My chipping is good and when I miss greens I can often get it close and save pars. That really helps to keep going and today I certainly made some good up-and-downs,” he said.

A well-rounded game and an extra lashing of self-belief allowed De Smidt to shoot the lights out at Lost City Golf Course, where he made eight birdies to reach the 36-hole mark on 12-under-par.

The Affinity Cup is the final 54-hole event of the 2014 season. After this week it’s all big summer events and De Smidt is peaking at the right time.

“I’ve gone two days without a bogey, which is pretty good. I missed a couple of shots, but I putted unbelievably well and my chipping was good. In the final round I’ll try to repeat what I’ve done over the last two days,” he said.

Sunshine Tour veteran Ulrich van den Berg will apply pressure during the final round. In nine of his last 11 starts the 39-year-old has finished inside the top six. He’s two shots behind the lead and heads up the chase looking for an elusive 2014 win.

“I had a good back nine of 31 today and hit them really close. Ruan’s obviously happy with his game, so we’ll see how it goes, but there is still plenty of golf to come. You can have a bit of a run at most shots here and that is probably the reason we’re seeing such low scores this week,” he said.

Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):
132 - Ruan de Smidt 68 64
134 - Ulrich van den Berg 68 66
136 - Jake Redman 69 67, Trevor Fisher Jnr 66 70, Louis de Jager 68 68
137 - Titch Moore 71 66, Oliver Bekker 66 71, Shaun Norris 66 71, Derik Ferreira 69 68, Dean Burmester 65 72, Morne Buys 66 71
138 - Christiaan Basson 70 68, Vaughn Groenewald 70 68, Danie van Tonder 70 68
139 - Jeff Inglis (ENG) 73 66, PH McIntyre 69 70, James Kamte 69 70, Jean Hugo 71 68, Merrick Bremner 70 69
140 - Rhys West 72 68, Keenan Davidse 73 67, Wallie Coetsee 73 67, Peter Karmis 71 69, Tyrone Mordt 71 69, Chris Swanepoel 66 74, Wynand Dingle 68 72
141 - Colin Nel 73 68, CJ du Plessis 68 73, Jacques Kruyswijk 72 69, Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM) 71 70, Alex Haindl 69 72
142 - Neil Schietekat 75 67, Divan van den Heever 71 71, Juan Langeveld 76 66, Jared Harvey 71 71
143 - Ross Wellington 72 71, Warren Abery 70 73
144 - Allan Versfeld 73 71, Justin Harding 74 70, Pieter Moolman 72 72, Grant Veenstra 70 74, Shaun Smith 71 73, Mark Murless 69 75
145 - JJ Senekal 70 75, Bryce Easton 74 71, Attie Schwartzel 75 70, Callum Mowat 73 72, Thriston Lawrence 75 70, Mark Williams (ZIM) 73 72, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 73 72
Missed the cut:-
146 - Eddie Taylor 75 71, JC Ritchie 73 73, Paul de Beer 67 79, Grant Muller 68 78, Andrew Georgiou 75 71, Erik van Rooyen 74 72
147 - Bennie van der Merwe 74 73, Stuart Smith (BOT) 72 75, Riekus Nortje 78 69, Lindani Ndwandwe 73 74
148 - Gideon Pienaar 74 74, Theunis Spangenberg 73 75, Matthew Carvell 71 77, Ryan Strauss 75 73, Anthony Michael 71 77, Francesco Laporta (ITA) 80 68, Ockie Strydom 72 76, Tyrone Ryan 77 71, Derick Petersen 74 74
149 - James Kingston 75 74, Toto Thimba (Jnr) 78 71, Michiel Bothma 74 75, Tyrone Ferreira 74 75, Bradford Vaughan 74 75, Andre Cruse 76 73
150 - Nic Henning 74 76
151 - Kevin Stinson (CAN) 75 76, Francois Coetzee 76 75, Rhys Enoch (WAL) 76 75
152 - Mikhail Tewary 78 74, Teboho Sefatsa 75 77
153 - Drikus van der Walt 75 78
154 - Lyle Rowe 75 79
155 - Steve Surry (ENG) 79 76, Roux Jeffery (NAM) 78 77

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