Stone in pursuit of second Proudfoot at Sanlam SA Amateur

South Africa’s leading amateur Brandon Stone strengthened his bid to win the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship when he blistered the course in 66 strokes during the second round on the 36-hole qualifier at Mowbray Golf Club.

The 18-year-old dropped just once on his way to pole position at nine under 135.

As the morning session concluded, Stone was one shot clear of Scotsman Brian Soutar (65) and two ahead of Michael Loppnow and Zander Lombard, who signed for 66 and 68 respectively. Drikus Bruyns and first round co-leader, Victor Lange, both carded 66s to tie for fifth.

Stone picked up four birdies at 10, 12, 14 and 18 and turned in four under, but a little misfire off the tee at the par-four first saw him drop two shots.

“I actually hit a perfect tee shot,” he said. “It took off exactly to where I was aiming, but it caught a tree and I was left scrambling for a six.”

The country’s number one retaliated with back-to-back birdies at the second and third to erase the effects of the double bogey. “Once I got rid of that nasty number, I managed to make two more birdies, at the sixth and the ninth holes and that put me in a pretty good position.

Stone, in a strong position to win the qualifier for a second successive year, said his focus is making it to Friday’s final round in the match play.

“It would be great to win the Proudfoot Trophy again, but to be honest, this year my goal is to get to the final of the match play over the next four days.”

Soutar, one of seven members of the Scottish Golf Union Men’s Squad who has been in country since January for their winter practice, said being in contention at this stage is very promising.

The Scotsman reeled in five birdies and an eagle at the par-five 10th for his flawless 65.

“As titles go, I rate the Sanlam SA Amateur just below the Scottish Amateur in terms of tournaments I’d like to win,” he said. “It’s a prestigious tournament and it would be fantastic if the pay-off for all the hard work I’ve put in over the last six weeks, could be the trophy on Friday.

“But this is match play and anything could happen, so I wouldn’t want to get too far ahead of myself.”

East London teenager Jade Buitendag shot an opening 74, but the 17-year-old also made five birdies and an eagle for a bogey 65 to cement his debut in the country’s oldest amateur tournament.

“I’m so thrilled to make the match play on my first try,” he said.

“It’s always been a dream for me to play in the Sanlam SA Amateur but after than 74 in the first round, I thought it might require a miracle to make the top 64. Luckily everything just clicked today and I was very solid, tee to green. I’m really excited to see how I measure up against the best players in the country.”

And South Africa’s number two Haydn Porteous, who aims to become only the seventh player to win the Stroke Play and Match Play titles in the same calendar year, carded a 70 to move to three under.

“Well, it’s enough to get me into the match play, but I’ll have to find something on the greens if I hope to go all the way,” he said.

“I just can’t get lines right and my rhythm is off, as well. But hopefully it clicks on Tuesday.”

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