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Porteous leads local trio into contention at Glendower

08 Feb 2012

Toby Tree watches as Haydn Porteous tees off at the South African Stroke Play Championship; credit Jeremy Campion

Haydn Porteous, Desne van den Bergh and Callum Mowat moved into early second place midway through the second round of the South African Stroke Play Championship at Glendower Golf Club.

Porteous carded a one-under-par 71 while Van den Bergh and Mowat signed for 70s to clock in at five under 139.

The early leaders still trail overnight leader Brandon Stone by one stroke and although the country’s leading amateur could still go on a scoring spree of his own this afternoon, the challengers were pleased to at least have gotten themselves into contention.

England’s Toby Tree carded a 69, Lionel Weber of France signed off on a 73 and JD Oosthuizen a 71 to tie for third on four under 140, while Muzi Nethenzwi fired a 70 to join Gert Myburgh (74) on three under 141.

Porteous predicts that Stone will increase the gap by at least a couple of strokes.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that Pebbles will shoot another low round today. He is riding a wave of great form at the moment and is going to be difficult to catch.

“Toby did prove last week at the Gauteng North Stroke Play that he can be beaten, but you will have to bring your A-game. A round like I had today isn’t going to get the job done. It’s going to take two solid rounds for me to stop the Stone Express.”

Porteous turned in 37 after a lone bogey 13. A second bogey at the fifth spoiled what could have been a five birdie run and a third saw him limp home in pars for a disappointing 71.

“That back nine was a bit of a rollercoaster,” he said. “Just too many silly mistakes and at a course like this, it can cost you three or four shots, easy.”

But the 18-year-old Modderfontein golfer believes he has found something in his swing that could improve his results at least temporarily.

“I’ve been struggling a little with my irons and driver for a while now and I haven’t been able to string four decent rounds together. I found something out there today and it started working over the five holes. It’s not technically sound, more like a band-aid, but it will keep me going for the next two days.”

Finding something or making a mid round change is nothing new for the young gun.

“I changed to a belly putter and won the Nomads National Order of Merit tournament in January,” he said. “I reckon Ernie did it, Retief did it, so why not give it a try. Putting is a confidence thing and when you get frustrated with the putter, it feeds through to the rest of your game.

“This belly putter has definitely  improved my putting and my confidence. That’s golf, you do what you have to do to get results.”

Mowat, with six birdies, two drops and a double bogey, said his colourful scorecard was typical of his current form. “It’s the way I’m playing at the moment” he shrugged.

The 20-year-old Modderfontein golfer agreed with Porteous that Stone will probably move the target substantially if he keeps his current form going.

“Brandon will probably stretch his lead this afternoon, but at least I got myself into the fight. This is a funny old course, though. When things go wrong, it can go seriously wrong and that can happen to anyone. If it happens to Brandon, we are all still in with a shot.”

Van den Bergh dropped one shot but picked up three birdies to complete his outward loop in 34. He dipped to five under for his round after birdies at the 12th and 15th, but his good work was cancelled by  a wayward tee shot at the par-three 17th.

“I drove it into the greenside bunker and had a downhill plugged lie,” the 20-year-old Vaal de Grace golfer explained. “Second day in a row that hole bit me, but I’m not going to cry over spilled milk. If I can eliminate the little mistakes, I’m in with a chance this week.”

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