Adrien Saddier opened a three-stroke lead after 36 holes of the Dimension Data Pro-Am thanks to a red-hot back nine on day two at Fancourt Golf Estate.
As the temperature soared in George, so did the Frenchman, getting to 16 under par after following up his nine under opening effort on the Outeniqua with a seven under round of 66 on the par-73 Links course.
Germany’s Alex Knappe is in second place on 13 under par heading into the weekend after a six under round of 66 on the Links.
Saddier experienced a slow start to the day two but exploded into life on the back nine, firing six birdies to continue his excellent return to competitive golf following an extended break.
“It was quite nice,” he said. “Today was a slow start, I didn’t hit it as close as yesterday and I got a fortunate birdie on eight, a chip-in out of nowhere. I had a turnaround in my game on the back nine and I just hit it like yesterday, hitting fairways, hitting it close and making some putts. It felt good.
“It’s never easy to change courses but I like the track. I feel confident with my driver so it helped me hit some aggressive lines off the tee and the weather was perfect today.”
The 29-year-old recently became a father and revealed he often thinks of his partner and son when waiting to tee off.
“I have my little tattoo and when I wait on the tee I think of the melody I sing to him to make him go to sleep,” he said. “I think a lot about him, about my girlfriend and I’m looking forward to giving him a call.
“I just want to enjoy it. I’m happy to be back on track playing competitive golf and I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
Knappe, a two-time Challenge Tour winner, is three shots off the lead at the halfway stage, one stroke clear of Spain’s Ivan Cantero Gutierrez and South African duo Jaco Ahlers and Jacques Blaauw, who all share third place on 11 under par.
South Africa’s Haydn Porteous carded a hole in one during his six under par round of 66 on the Outeniqua course to take a share of sixth place alongside countryman Neil Schietekat, Spain’s Angel Hidalgo and Englishman Richard Mansell on ten under par.
The third round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am will begin at 6:30am local time on Saturday February 12, with Saddier teeing it up on the Montagu course at 9:39am. The field will be cut following the conclusion of the third round, with the top 60 and ties progressing to compete in Sunday’s final round.