A memorable day for Englishman Jamie Elson at the Jo’burg City Masters and an utterly forgettable one for countryman Luke Joy has turned the MENA Tour order-of-merit (OOM) race on its head.
Elson carded an equal best of the day 67 Wednesday to come from two shots back to grasp the lead in the co-sanctioned Sunshine Big Easy Tour-MENA Tour event at -9, a shot clear of South Africa’s Jaco Prinsloo.
Joy, meanwhile, was unable to recover from his opening two-over 74, going backwards with a second round 76 to miss the cut but four shots. That means the inconsistent OOM leader, through seven events of the MENA Tour season, is in danger of surrendering his lead atop the points standings, particularly if Elson can kick on to victory at Country Club Johannesburg Thursday.
Golf is a numbers game and those can be tricky when you’re playing at altitude where the ball flies further. Not that Elson, who mixed five birdies and an eagle with two bogeys in his second round, seems to be struggling.
“I played really solidly the past two days. I’m really confident with my iron-game. I got some really good yardages today and managed to hit some pretty close. It’s just a question of getting it in on the green, you know,” said Elson who finished runner-up at April’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic.
“The main thing is just working out the altitude,” he said of what he needs to work on going forward.
“You know, coming from the UK, the ball is flying, I would say, five percent further in the winter time here. I have been to Jo’burg before in the summer time but it was about 10 percent further. So I have got a little conversion thing in my bag that’s been helping me out and it’s been working very well.”
South African Maritz Wessels fired a 67 to climb into solo third as overnight leader Jacquin Hess slipped into a three-way tie for 13th on -4 despite closing his second round 74 with an eagle at the par-5 18th.
England’s Sam Hobday led the amateur division into the final round on +2 as overnight leader Tiago Lobo (Brazil) endured a tough second round, carding a 78 to finish on seven over, leaving himself with a mountain to climb in Thursday’s final round.