22nd June 2022 | Big Easy Tour
Frade, Hendler share top spot ahead of final round at Randpark
Nicholaus Frade was happy to shoot a second-round 1-under-par 70 which took his total to two-under for the week, catapulting him to a share of the top spot with Ricky Hendler in the Altron Big Easy Tour event that is currently underway in windy conditions at Randpark Golf Club.
“I played solidly today under tough conditions,” Frade started, “it was easy to let a lot of bogeys happen today. I just made sure I didn’t make a double as well and when I got into trouble, I just made sure I kept it in play and tried to put a score together.”
With the wind blowing at uncomfortable speeds around the Firethorn layout here in Randburg, it was always going to take patience and precision for any one player to shoot really low scores.
Frade started on the 10th on Wednesday, making four pars and a birdie in his first five holes. A par on 15 was followed by a birdie on 16, Frade’s seventh hole of the day. He dropped a shot on 18, his ninth, and he was one-under through the first nine.
He steadied himself after that drop and made back-to-back pars before finding joy on his 12th, making an important birdie there to stay in it ahead of the final round. Those gains were soon done away with as the Centurion Country Club member made a bogey on the par-five fourth. He made up for those losses with a birdie on six but with the final stretch at Randpark as tough as nails, Frade dropped another shot to seal a well-earned 70.
“I did really well with controlling my ball flight,” Frade added, “and I always made sure I hit good distances. And my putting; I thought my putting and chipping helped me a lot today. The wind made things tough today, especially since those first two holes are straight into the wind and that makes it long and difficult. It just forces you to hit good shots. Even the closing stretch on both nines is just difficult, and there’s nothing like having a break at any time. You just have to keep your head down and graft.
“But I think the weather and the wind will be the same tomorrow so I will have to take on the same strategy I had today; hit fairways and hit greens and if you make a few putts out there, things will happen for you. I’ll try to do the same things I have been doing for the first two days and see where it puts me.”
Hendler shot two-over 73 but was able to maintain his spot at the summit of the leaderboard.
“I had a tough first nine,” Hendler admitted, “but a really good back nine. You couldn’t get made today when you hit a shot that you didn’t want to hit because it was just so tough. The wind was like 45km an hour, everything is at the back, the pins are tucked, and it felt like I was at a Joburg Open event.
“All I had to do was to try and get my rhythm back because I knew it will heat up a bit later on. I missed a couple of putts but I played really nicely on the back nine. But if the weather stays like this tomorrow, I think the guy with the biggest heart is going to win this tournament.”
Hendler has shown a lot of that big heart in the last few events and will hope to be rewarded with a win on Thursday.
The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout among its former Order of Merit winners.