Resolve keeps Roux in control in KZN

Patience and steely resolve helped Gerlou Roux maintain his overnight lead at the halfway stage of the South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Wednesday.

The country’s top ranked mid-amateur opened with a five under 66 and carried a three stroke lead into the second round at Victoria Country Club.

After a frustrating front nine, the Western Province gathered four birdies on the home straight to close with a 67 and a five stroke advantage at nine-under-par 133.

Fellow Province player Elton James carded a second successive 69 to hold on to second and finished one stroke clear of Ryan Dreyer.

The former Sanlam SA Amateur champion launched a spirited charge over the first nine holes, but his challenge frazzled on the back nine and the Central Gauteng closed with another 70 to take third on 140.

A bogey at the par-four 12th, five pars and a playing partner on fire fuelled Roux’ frustration at the start of the second round.

“We teed off at the 11th and I just couldn’t sink a birdie putt over the first six holes,” the38-year-old Roux said.

“The bogey at the 12th didn’t help and there was Ryan, holing everything in sight. I kept telling myself to keep patient and not let the frustration get the better of me.”

The momentum changed after he drained a birdie putt at the 18th.

“I knocked it to a foot at the second and tapped in for birdie and hit a great bunker shot at the third to set up another birdie putt,” Roux said.

“I knocked in a testy 20 foot uphill putt at the fourth for birdie, but missed a birdie chance at the fifth when I didn’t hit the putt hard enough. I made a 10-footer at the sixth against the grain, though, that took me to four under.

“It definitely changed for me after the turn and all the patience paid off.”

Sleeping on the lead for a second night running is nothing new to Roux, who already notched four mid-amateur titles this season.

“I’m comfortable being out front, but you have to watch out for complacency,” he said.

“It’s nice to have a big cushion, but I will need to maintain the focus and keep sharp, because anyone can hit a hot streak and catch up.”

133 Gerlou Roux 66 67
138 Elton James 69 69
140 Ryan Dreyer 70 70
142 Hugo Delport 70 7
143 Sean Quigley 71 72
146 Henk Geldenhuys 75 71; Kevin Sharp 75 71
147 Kelso Hannay 78 69; Cameron Johnston 75 72; Greg Sheard 75 72; Keith Forde 71 76

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

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