Cronje takes route 66 to lead at Maccauvlei

Stefan Cronje came flying out of the blocks in the second round of the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy with a six-under-par 66 to claim the 36-hole lead at Maccauvlei Golf Club.

The Ekurhuleni amateur leads by two strokes from SA Inter-Provincial team mate Tristen Strydom and overnight leader Luke Trocado, while Hendrikus Stoop and Jason Froneman finished three off the pace.

Cronje tied for second at the SA Stroke Play in February and lost the Boland Amateur Stroke Play to Trocado in a play-off in April, but hasn’t been able to convert for a podium finish this season.

Looking to end the title drought, the 21-year-old Nigel golfer took advantage of the perfect scoring conditions to rack up seven birdies and a three-putt bogey at the par-three fifth.

“I hit my irons really solidly all day and made all my birdies from inside 10 feet,” Cronje said.

“I didn’t have any spectacular saves or dramatic chip-ins; just a very solid round.

“The fact that I haven’t won this season, is at the back of my mind, but for the next two rounds, I don’t want to think too much about winning.

“I just want to post two sub-70 rounds on Thursday and see where it leaves me.”

Reigning Nomads SA Stroke Play champion Strydom racked up a pair of birdies at the first and second holes, dropped a shot at the fifth and claimed two more gains at the 10th and 13th for a 69.

Trocado had to overcome adversity on the front nine, but the Western Province junior did extremely well to recover.

The 18-year-old Atlantic Beach golfer bookended three successive bogeys with birdies at the third and seventh holes, and reeled in two more birdies at the 13th and 15th to stay in touch with a 71.

Stoop from Gauteng North carded a 70, while Ekurhuleni’s Froneman signed for a 68.

The cut fell at eight-over-par 152, leaving 66 players to contest the final two rounds on Thursday.

135 Stefan Cronje 69 66
137 Luke Trocado 66 71; Tristen Strydom 68 69
138 Hendrikus Stoop 68 70; Jason Froneman 70 68
139 Paul Boshoff 69 70
140 Kyle Barker 70 70; Divan Marais 70 70; Henri van Waart 74 66
141 Fritz Orren 70 71; Michael Dixon 71 70; Gerlou Roux 68 73; Meyer Pauw 68 73
142 Armandt Scholtz 71 71; Teaghan Gauche 71 71; Ryan Dreyer 70 72; Aubrey Beckley 70 72; Dwayne Basson 73 69; Herman Loubser 71 71; Jason Viljoen 74 68

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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