Namibia’s Trevor Dodds, back in Africa on a short vacation from the US Tour, fired the lowest round of the week – a seven under par 65 – to move smoothly into a two stroke lead in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Houghton GC, Johannesburg.
The 40 year old, who captured the 1998 Greater Greensboro Open in America, ignored the aches and pains of having to play 32 holes in the rain-interrupted tournament by ending a difficult day on 134, ten under par.
That was sufficient for Dodds to establish a two shot advantage over Scotland’s Gary Orr and young English professional, Anthony Wall, from Sunningdale, who tagged a second round 67 onto his opening 69 for a total of 136. Orr also followed a 69 with a 67 after the event resumed on Saturday morning.
Two strokes further behind were close friends and Ryder Cup players, Peter Baker and Paul Broadhurst of England, along with Argentinian, Ricardo Gonzalez on 138, six under par.
Despite incessant rain, the first round was finally completed but only half of the field managed to finish their second rounds. Play resumed at 7am on Saturday with the 36-hole cut being made on 145, one over par, with 81 players involved over the final 36-holes.
Meanwhile leader Dodds revealed: “My dad helped me a lot during the holiday. That was the key today. I went home and he made a slight change on the set up of the driver and he encouraged me to go back to a steel driver from graphite. I’ve driven the ball dramatically better.”
Wall, refreshed from five and a half weeks in Australia where he played well and dyed his hair into the bargain, is aiming higher after two decent seasons on the European Tour.
He said: “I haven’t missed a cut since August – I think it’s 15 events in a row – and it’s nice to keep on a run. My aim now is to play well and hopefully turn those 30th or 40th places into top twenties and the weeks when I used to finish six or seventh, to turn it into third or fourth.”
Orr, who had not missed a cut in 24 starts dating back to the 1999 Qatar Masters, showed that consistency again as he moved into a tie for second alongside Wall. He said: “It’s been a hard week – very stop-start. I feel rusty despite spending a few days at the David Leadbetter Academy in Spain recently, but I can’t complain about my start.”
Broadhurst and Baker shot matching 68s followed by 70s while Gonzalez opened with a 70 and followed it with a 68.
Right behind that trio is the formidable figure of two-time Masters champion, Bernhard Langer, who showed that the fire still burns in his belly by birdieing five holes in a row on his way to a 69 and 139 total.
Langer, who took two and a half months off for the first time in his career, admitted: “I want to win again. That’s the goal. Once you’ve won once, you want to do it again and if I play well I have a chance in any conditions.”