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Jones still leads after 2nd Round

18 May 2011

Denis Jones enjoying life at the top of the leaderboard


EAST LONDON (18 May 2011) – His early two-under-par 71 may have held up for the second round lead on Thursday, but Denis Jones is worried about the local favourites in his rear-view mirror at the South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship, sponsored by Volvo, at East London Golf Club.

Jones has a five shot cushion over Glendower’s Kevin Sharp, who returned a 73, but it is his fellow club members John Kew and Sean Coetzee that has the 60-year-old golfer sweating under the collar.

Kew carded a 73 and Coetzee signed for a one-under-par 71 to tie for third on one-over-par 147. The pair is one stroke clear of Free State golfer, Josef Fourie, who returned a 74.

“I should be comfortable sitting at 139, but those two are nicely poised to challenge for the lead,” said Jones. “Don’t think they won’t go for it, especially if the wind gets up tomorrow.”

But the veteran certainly gave his peers food for thought as he completed another sub-par round that included five drops, five birdies and an eagle three at the par-five 11th.

Now he just hopes the wind holds off for the next 36 holes.

“It will be nice if it stays away, because this course is pretty defenceless without the wind. But it started pushing this afternoon, so I expect it to blow tomorrow. I’ll have my job cut out to stay ahead.”

Second placed Sharp, whose four birdies were offset by four bogeys, said he shares Jones’s concerns about the possibility of wind on Thursday.

“I dropped a couple of shots but overall I was pleased that I managed to handle the wind when it came up over the back nine this afternoon,” said the Gauteng amateur.

“The locals are telling me it’s going to blow tomorrow, so the game plan will be to try and keep the ball in play as far as possible; keep the risky shots to a minimum.”

Kew, who limited his bogeys to three, took a rather taciturn view of his position at the half way stage.

“I wasn’t really going to chase over the first two rounds,” he said. “I just aimed to finish in the top eight and then get the challenge on.”

The East London golfer volunteered during the European and Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned Africa Open in January. He said the course is set up similarly and could get very tough if the wind picks up. “The greens are already much firmer,” he said, “and if the wind gets up, it will definitely separate the boys from the men.”

Kew added that he was very impressed by Jones, but that his lead also poses a problem.

“It’s incredible for us locals guys to see Denis leading this way, but it’s also tough. On the one hand you are cheering for him to keep going, but on the other hand, it’s up to us to try and catch old Denis. It’s a tough call.”


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