Cape Town - After patiently grinding his way through the day on Thursday, Keenan Davidse burst through with a five-hole closing sequence of eagle-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to move into a share of the lead in the Royal Swazi Spa Challenge.
He finished up with an eight-under-par 64 to move to 10-under-par at the halfway mark. He shared the lead with Andre de Decker, who carded a scrapping five-under 67 ahead of the final round of the R800 000 54-hole tournament.
It didn’t start as impressively as it finished for Davidse.
“My caddie told me the whole day just to stay patient and relax,” he said. “In fact, talking with one of my sponsors the other day, he told me just to take a step back and enjoy life. So after making the bogey on my second hole, I thought about that the whole time. I made a few pars, made eagle on 12 and then I was one-under and I just kept moving forward.
“On my back nine, I made two eagles and three birdies in the last five holes. It was because I stayed patient. I’ve been out here on tour for a while, so I know what I need to do. It’s nice to be back on the leaderboard, and I hope I can get the job done.”
That finish by Davidse was in stark contrast to the round by De Decker. “I struggled a lot this round,” said the left-hander. “My iron-play was a little shaky and I made a few errors out there, but mentally I hung tough and told myself there’s a lot of scoring opportunities.”
De Decker followed a pair of bogeys on the front nine with an eagle on each occasion to keep things on track. “To make those two eagles was big, especially with padding them with bogeys either side, but that really did make the scorecard look prettier,” he said.
He made another bogey on the 14th, and once again, he was able to atone with a birdie on the 15th, and didn’t manage to pick up any more shots on the final three holes, including the par-five 17th. “I feel like I’ve brought my B-minus game,” he said. “Maybe we can bring the A-game out tomorrow. That doesn’t sound really humble, but it was a struggle.”
The leading pair had a one-stroke edge over Louis de Jager who fired a five-under 67 to finish nine-under after 36 holes.
A further stroke back were Thriston Lawrence after his eight-under, Michael Palmer who fired a five-under, and Michael Hollick who carded a 66.
For the final round, it’s going to be a sprint for the finish line. Maybe De Decker has the best approach. “You just try and birdie every hole,” he said.