8th November 2023 | Big Easy Tour
Course knowledge helps Scheepers to Akasia lead
The bad weather that surrounded Akasia Golf Club on Tuesday meant little to Marthin Scheepers as he dazzled to a sizzling eight-under-par 64 second-round of the Altron Big Easy Tour event here to assume the top spot on nine-under par ahead of the final round.
The weather-affected round was eventually abandoned as tournament officials realised that the course was unplayable after a long enough delay on Tuesday.
Scheepers had already done his job at this time. He was seven under through 15 – the best score of the round – and soaking wet. When play resumed on Wednesday, Scheepers was ready to go and a birdie on the last catapulted him to the summit of the leaderboard, one stroke ahead of the chasing Travis Ladner.
“What many people don’t know is that I grew up around here and I have played this course in every possible weather condition,” revealed Scheepers of the weather conditions after his round. “I just kept playing; hit some good shots and made really nice putts. I think it helped that I know the course.
“I felt the “home-ground” advantage played against me in the first round, however, because the greens were playing slightly different to what I am used to. I hit some lines that would normally be okay but I just completely missed the hole. I adapted to that in the second round and made some good putts. That was the difference but I still think knowing the course really well helped me this week.”
Six birdies and an eagle characterised scheepers’ faultless round. He made four birdies on the front nine – on the third, fifth, sixth and eighth holes – to turn in 32. Coming home, an eagle on the par-five 14th was accompanied by birdies on 15 and 18 which are also par-fives.
“On the first hole, I left one short and on the second, I missed a five-footer for birdie,” he said, “but, I think other than that, I played really well. I am looking forward to the final round. It’s always nice to challenge, especially in your own backyard. I think the final round will be interesting; the greens might be a bit more receptive.
“The weather is a lot different than it was yesterday. I think, however, it will be more of a percentage golf; hit fairways, hit greens and make your putts.”
Ladner’s second successive round of 68 took his tournament total to eight-under and he will feel he has an opportunity to snatch victory here after all is said and done. Taking a share of the third spot on six-under for the week are Ricky Hendler, Matthew Rushton, Zambia’s Dayne Moore, Ruan Groenewald and Stals Swart.
Tumelo Molloyi, Englishman Harry Konig, Werner Deyzel and Dylan O’Leary make up the top 10 on a tournament total of five-under, four shots adrift of Scheepers’ lead.