Sunshine Tour

Ritchie tightens grip on Zim Open lead

2018-04-20 18:36
JC Ritchie
JC Ritchie (Gallo Images)

Harare -  Defending champion of the Zimbabwe Open, JC Ritchie, carded a second successive 66 to total 12-under for the week and move four shots clear of second-placed Jaco Ahlers and Bryce Easton going into the weekend.

Unlike the first round where he made with a par and two birdies in his first three holes, Ritchie made pars on his first two holes in the second round.

Those were followed by a pair of birdies on the third and fourth holes. Three pars later, he made serious gains as he eagled the par-four eighth before making par to turn in four-under.

He had to grind from there on as the next birdie to make it onto his card came only on the 14th, four pars later.

A perfect afternoon for the 25-year-old was spoilt by the only bogey he made on the day, and that came on the par-five 16th. He recovered swiftly, though, and closed his round with back-to-back birdies to sign for a 66.

"Today was a little bit tougher," he said. "But, for some reason, I was a lot calmer today. I hit some really good shots today but I didn't capitalise on all of them but also managed to scramble really well on some holes. The hard greens didn’t make any easier on the back nine but I putted really nicely and that helped a lot."

Going into moving day with a healthy four-shot cushion, Ritchie will not allow any sort of complacency to creep into his game.

"Tomorrow I do what I have been doing," he said.

"I have a birdie count that I need to chase and tomorrow I will try to make as many birdies as I can."

He will need to make those birdies because if Ahlers' second round score is anything to go by, he will have serious competition for that top spot he occupies.

Ahlers came into the round level-par and like Ritchie, he started out by making two straight pars before making an eagle on the third. He made further gains on five and six, and again on the eighth hole to turn in 31.

"The confidence is high and I think it's still from last week," he said, referring to the solid performance he put up at the Zanaco Masters where he lost on the fourth play-off hole to JJ Senekal.

"I'm not hitting a lot of fairways, unfortunately, I can't really practice driver on this golf course. I've been good around the greens and the short game's really been good and that's what has kept me there."

He made another par on the 10th but followed that up with three straight pars en route to an unblemished eight-under-par 64 which threw him right in the mix going to the weekend.

He credited the experience he gained last year while playing on the European Tour for his solid game since the year began.

"The experience of playing with better guys and seeing how they do it and figuring out my own game has helped a lot. I'm confident in the way I'm playing," he admitted.

He shares the second spot with Bryce Easton who shot a 67 to total eight-under while Vaughn Groenewald's two-under-par round got his total to seven-under for the week and alone on the fourth spot on the leaderboard.

Alex Haindl, meanwhile, also shot a 70 and is now tied for fifth with seven other players, including veteran Jean Hugo.

Scores:

132 - JC Ritchie 66 66

136 - Jaco Ahlers 72 64, Bryce Easton 69 67

137 - Vaughn Groenewald 67 70

138 - Alex Haindl 68 70, Jean Hugo 70 68, Christiaan Basson 70 68, Daniel van Tonder 70 68, Rhys West 72 66, Jake Roos 70 68, Ulrich van den Berg 70 68, Jack Harrison 70 68

139 - N.J. Arnoldi 71 68, Andrew van der Knaap 67 72, Peter Karmis 71 68, Mark Williams 71 68, Anton Haig 72 67, MJ Viljoen 71 68, Jonathan Agren 68 71, Martin Rohwer 67 72

140 - Justin Harding 72 68, Oliver Bekker 71 69, Hennie Otto 70 70, Trevor Fisher Jnr 68 72, Doug McGuigan 72 68, Robson Chinoi 72 68

141 - Teboho Sefatsa 71 70, Bennie van der Merwe 72 69, Herman Loubser 72 69, Andre De Decker 70 71, Breyten Meyer 69 72, Steve Surry 70 71, Andrew Curlewis 70 71, Tyrone Ferreira 70 71, Fredrik From 71 70, David McIntyre 69 72

142 - Trainos Muradzikwa 73 69, Luke Jerling 69 73, Pieter Moolman 70 72, Ryan Cairns 72 70, Jacquin Hess 69 73, Erhard Lambrechts 74 68

143 - Wynand Dingle 71 72, Aubrey Beckley 75 68, Franklin Manchest 72 71, Anthony Michael 72 71, Toto Thimba 73 70, Louis de Jager 72 71, Marc Cayeux 75 68, Rourke van der Spuy 73 70, Combrinck Smit 72 71

144 - Damon Stephenson 75 69, Callum Mowat 69 75, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 74 70, Titch Moore 71 73, Keenan Davidse 78 66, Jared Harvey 71 73, Jaco Prinsloo 71 73, Ockie Strydom 70 74, Jason Smith 71 73, Duane Keun 74 70, JJ Senekal 75 69, Chris Cannon 73 71, Matthew Carvell 73 71

Missed the cut:

145 - Merrick Bremner 72 73, Andrew Odoh 76 69, Neil Schietekat 75 70, Allan Versfeld 71 74, Stephen Ferreira 73 72, Louis Albertse 72 73, Estiaan Conradie 73 72

146 - Francois Coetzee 73 73, Stuart Smith 76 70, Hennie du Plessis 71 75, Rhys Enoch 74 72, Kyle McClatchie 72 74, Matias Calderon 71 75, Madalitso Muthiya 73 73, James Hart du Preez 73 73

147 - Wayne Stroebel 77 70, Jacques P de Villiers 72 75, Jake Redman 70 77, Scott Campbell 73 74, James Kingston 81 66, Kyle Pilgrim 74 73, Wallie Coetsee 71 76, Omar Sandys 75 72, Jason Froneman 74 73, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 75, Ruan Conradie 75 72

148 - Lyle Rowe 70 78, Bruce McDonald 70 78, Tyler Hogarty 74 74, Kayyam Rauf Mandhu 73 75, Colin Nel 72 76

149 - Simon Mburu 74 75, Michael Hollick 75 74, James Kamte 75 74, Lyford Yadyo 74 75, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu 74 75, Thabang Simon 79 70, Cody Martin 75 74, Stefan Engell Andersen 74 75, Theunis Bezuidenhout 77 72, Robson Saurombe 76 73

150 - Steven Lecuyer 78 72, Nyasha Muyambo 79 71, Coert Groenewald 72 78, Desne Van Den Bergh 77 73, Gary Thompson 75 75, Benjamin Follett-Smith 78 72

151 - Thriston Lawrence 77 74, Ty Capps 75 76, Biggie Chibvuri 76 75, Matt Bright 73 78, Michael Palmer 72 79

152 - David Amm 74 78, Chris Swanepoel 73 79, Dayne Moore 78 74, Lindani Ndwandwe 76 76, Philip Eriksson 74 78

153 - Teaghan Gauche 75 78, Tonderayi Masunga 77 76

154 - TC Charamba 78 76, Andre Nel 80 74, Thembelani Vundla 76 78, Keelan Africa 77 77, Basil Wright 82 72

155 - Tyrone Ryan 78 77, Julius Kamalizeni 77 78, Peter Banda 74 81, Jason Viljoen 81 74, Ruan de Smidt 75 80

156 - Simon Katembenuka 81 75, Michael Schutz 78 78, Anyway Katembenuka 80 76

157 - Greg Bentley 80 77, Phumlani Maluka 77 80, Tafadzwa Nyamukondiwa 78 79, Sipho Bujela 77 80, Paul Chidale 80 77

158 - Sean Bradley 81 77, Patrick Mwendapole 82 76

159 - Thompson Masiya 76 83, Mohit Mediratta 82 77, Tafara Mpofu 81 78

160 - Andrew Burmester 85 75, Theunis Spangenberg 82 78

162 - Nemanja Savic 81 81, Tatende Makunde 79 83

163 - Dean Schoultz 79 84, Marthin Scheepers 80 83, Irvin Mazibuko 81 82, William Weidner 82 81

166 - Gary Ferguson 80 86

RTD - Brian Gondo 84 RTD

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  golf
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