Hendrikse, Le Roux lurk at Indwe SA Senior Amateur

Defending champion Mellette Hendrikse and South Africa’s number one senior Francois le Roux moved within striking distance of pacesetter Gavin van Aswegen as second round action wrapped up at the Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Open Championship at Fancourt on Thursday.

Van Aswegen carded a two-over-par 74 at the Outeniqua course to top the 36-hole leaderboard at one over par, but the Central Gauteng golfer will have two of the country’s top seniors breathing in his neck in the final round at the Montagu course.

De Zalze’s Le Roux held on to an overnight share of second with a 75 and was joined by Thys Marais from Greenside Colliery, who carded a 74. Hendrikse from Akasia Country Club made it a threesome at two over affter navigating the Gary Player designed layout in 73 strokes.

Meanwhile Adrian Kriel from Wingate signed for a 74 to tie for fifth with last year’s runner-up Lawrence Franklin from Houghton and Humewood’s David Konzani, who both returned 75s. First round leader Leon Scheepers from Zwartkops closed with a 77 to join the qroup at three over.

The defending champion began well with five pars, but stumbled with two three-putt bogeys at the 15th and 16th. “I hit a great shot into the 18th and boxed a 15-footer get one shot back on the course,” he said. “I birdied the third to square things, but then nearly threw it away with a double at the fourth. The pin was on the left and that side of the green is surrounded by water.

“I aimed a soft seven-iron to the right side of the green, but it was so firm, the ball hit and rolled off, into the water. I chipped it to six feet, but I missed the putt. It’s never nice to double a par-three and looking back, I can’t actually believe how calm I stayed.”

The defending champion parred the next three holes and picked up one more birdie at the par-five eighth.

“Great tee shot and a three-wood pin high, chipped it to two-feet and boxed the putt,” he said. “It was a relief; great to finish the round that way after that double and it kept me in the hunt.”

Hendrikse beat Lawrence by four shots at Wingate Park for the coveted title last year, but the 53-year-old predicts a much tougher battle on Friday.

“The forecast is for wind and rain, which will definitely toughen up the course,” he said. “The leaderboard is very tight and at this stage; it’s anyone’s game. I think that patience is going to be key for the player who wants to win.”

And that is great advice from a man whose motto is “Slowly, Slowly, Catch the Monkey”.

“I was always in a hurry on the golf course and that cost so many times as a professional golf,” Hendrikse explained. “Now that I’m on the ‘old toppie circuit’ I’m trying to slow things down and be more patient. It’s become my catch phrase; after all, if you chase a monkey, it runs away.”

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