Otto sets course at windy Royal Cape to be main man at Cape Town Open
HENNIE OTTO is the man to beat in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open, after increasing his lead from one to four strokes at the halfway stage of the Sunshine Tour event at Royal Cape Golf Club yesterday.
The 2011 SA Open champion made light work of the slight drizzle and wind on his way to a bogey-free four-under 68 (opening round 66), placing him in prime position for line honours and the R317 000 winner’s cheque.
Having posted an opening round six-under 66, Otto stands on 10-under-par 134, four ahead of Tjaart van der Walt (69) and Omar Sandys (71) who are tied for second.
Otto defied the blustery conditions at Royal Cape, the threetime European Tour winner starting his second round with a one-shot cushion over the field – and keen to stretch his lead.
“I’ve put in a lot of work over the past couple of months and it’s starting to pay dividends,” Otto said.
“My confidence levels are up, that helps, now I just have to stay focused over the next two days and keep the approach the same as the first two rounds.
“My back-nine start was a good one, I birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th to turn at threeunder, then birdied at the second to go 10-under through 29 holes. There was a lot of talk about the wind… and it did pick up to a four-clubber at stages, so to come in without a bogey is a big plus heading forwards.”
Van der Walt feels confident about chasing down Otto.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of hours on and off the course working with a new coach, Alan Thompson,” he said. “There’s new technology in my swing and I’m looking forward to giving myself more opportunities to chase Hennie and not just let him run away with it.”
A 17-year veteran of the professional ranks, and with 34 top-10s to his name, Van der Walt, 39, has every right to feel bullish about his chances over the next two rounds. He’s spent most of the year reshaping his game and yesterday it clicked, which led to a second-round 69.
“We’ve made some changes that we expect to produce better shots under pressure. The putting has been a work in progress and hopefully we can continue making some nice six to eight footers,” he said.
Sandys recovered from a dismal start when he birdied the final three holes, leaving him on six- under- par. The Welkom local had an outward nine of 38 shots and then went five shots better over the back stretch. “I’m really pleased with the way I hung in there and came back after such a bad start today,” he said.