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Lombard shines in Sun City

Zander Lombard. © Getty Images
Zander Lombard. © Getty Images

Zander Lombard continued his recent run of fine form to take a two shot lead into the weekend at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player – the seventh Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

The South African, who topped last season’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, carded a round of 65 to get to 11 under par, with  compatriot and 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen at nine under par and Belgian Thomas Detry two shots further back.

All three were in a tie for the lead after Lombard – who was playing alongside defending champion Lee Westwood and South African legend Ernie Els – went eagle-birdie after the turn, but his rivals started heading in the wrong direction as he took control.

Overnight leader Oosthuizen – who was unsure if he would tee off on Thursday after suffering from kidney stones – dropped shots on the 14th and 15th, while Detry double bogeyed the 17th after finding water from the tee and dropped another shot on the last.

The 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood and Swede Marcus Kinhult are in a share of fourth place at six under par, with England’s Aaron Rai, Australian Jason Scrivener and Dane Joachim B. Hansen one shot further back.

The current Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger of Austria is amongst a group of seven players at four under par.

Player quotes

Zander Lombard:

“Playing with two legends of the game, it was nervy, but I settled down quickly with a birdie on the second and it was just all really good vibes from there. Played really well today.

“The crowds were at their max and all into it. They were cheering and they were fantastic. They were cheering for Ernie and Lee at the start, but I won them over at the end, so it was awesome.

“It’s a huge opportunity, and just need to keep myself calm and do the same on the weekend. I’ve got a great team behind me and the processes are in place. I’m going to stick to my processes. It sounds cliché, but it’s as simple as that and we’ll see where it puts me at the end of the week.”

Louis Oosthuizen:

“I was fine starting. The last six holes got me a bit. The tee shot on 14, I felt it in the right lower with the pain. I think the next two holes, I was thinking of that and didn’t really focus on what I had to do.

“Then on 16 again, I got my focus back and played nicely coming in. Pretty fatigued. Just need to rest for tomorrow.”

Thomas Detry:

“It’s a tough course, anything can happen. Played some really good golf. On 17, it could have been a high number there. Limited the damage with a double-bogey and got a bit unlucky on 18. Hit a great drive, 300 metres down the middle. But it’s golf and just move on and see tomorrow.

“The putter seems to be working. Whole swing seems to be working as well. Anything can happen on the weekend. A few are guys ahead of me, a few guys behind me. I think it’s going to be a fun battle.”

Tommy Fleetwood:

“It’s a tough golf course, and you’re always not that bad of a golf shot away from being stuck in trouble. You’ve just got to stay on it.

“Generally I feel like I can do well. I love this place. I love the week. I think it’s got a great atmosphere to it. I like teeing off on this golf course. I feel like there’s a lot of holes where you have to just make sure you free yourself up.”

Round two scores

133 Z Lombard (RSA) 68 65,
135 L Oosthuizen (RSA) 63 72,
137 T Detry (Bel) 66 71,
138 M Kinhult (Swe) 69 69, T Fleetwood (Eng) 69 69,
139 A Rai (Eng) 70 69, J Hansen (Den) 69 70, J Scrivener (Aus) 69 70,
140 B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 69, G Migliozzi (Ita) 67 73, P Waring (Eng) 69 71, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71 69, M Korhonen (Fin) 70 70, N Elvira (Esp) 70 70, A Quiros (Esp) 70 70,
141 L Westwood (Eng) 68 73, S Soderberg (Swe) 69 72, J Campillo (Esp) 69 72, O Wilson (Eng) 69 72,
142 G Coetzee (RSA) 69 73, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 72, A Noren (Swe) 73 69, J Luiten (Ned) 72 70, K Kitayama (USA) 70 72,
143 P Harrington (Irl) 71 72, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 72 71, K Samooja (Fin) 72 71, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 70 73,
144 R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 74 70, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 74 70, G Green (Mas) 74 70, T Lewis (Eng) 71 73, S Sharma (Ind) 70 74, S Jamieson (Sco) 73 71,
145 N Colsaerts (Bel) 72 73, I Poulter (Eng) 74 71, H Stenson (Swe) 74 71, B Hebert (Fra) 72 73,
146 D Lipsky (USA) 72 74,
147 R Langasque (Fra) 73 74, M Wallace (Eng) 73 74, A Arnaus (Esp) 74 73, M Kawamura (Jpn) 72 75, J Smith (Eng) 73 74,
148 J Lagergren (Swe) 73 75, P Larrazábal (Esp) 76 72, S Brown (Eng) 73 75, A Sullivan (Eng) 75 73, R Sterne (RSA) 69 79,
149 E Els (RSA) 68 81, T Pieters (Bel) 73 76, H Li (Chn) 73 76, B Grace (RSA) 74 75, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 76 73, C Paisley (Eng) 75 74, R Fox (Nzl) 74 75, R Macintyre (Sco) 73 76,
150 S Hend (Aus) 77 73, R Ramsay (Sco) 72 78,
151 A Pavan (Ita) 77 74, J Harding (RSA) 73 78, M Southgate (Eng) 72 79,
156 L Bjerregaard (Den) 81 75