JC Ritchie carded a bogey-free nine under par round for the second consecutive day at the Jonsson Workwear Open and will now take a commanding six-shot lead into the weekend as he targets back-to-back Road to Mallorca victories.
The nine-time Sunshine Tour winner entered the second round with a two-shot lead after his course record 61 at Mount Edgecombe Golf Club yesterday, and he extended his advantage to six after a round of 63 at Durban Country Club to get to an 18 under total. The 28-year-old came close to a second course record in consecutive days – falling one stroke short of 19-time Sunshine Tour winner John Bland’s score of 62 at the 1993 South African Open.
Ritchie successfully defended his Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open title last week and has proven his ability to win in consecutive weeks on more than one occasion. The South African secured victory at the 2019 Sunshine Tour Team Championship alongside partner Jaco Prinsloo and the following week won the Limpopo Championship, and in 2020 he retained both titles, again in successive weeks.
His South African compatriot Jbe Kruger sits in second place on 12 under par after he posted a seven under round of 66 on day two, while Sweden’s Adam Blomme, who carded an eight under round of 64, shares third place with Belgian Christopher Mivis on 11 under par.
“I am super chuffed,” said Ritchie. “I haven’t played here much before - I think today was the third time I have ever played here - but I knew I was striking the ball well and if I could plot my way round I could give myself a lot of chances, and luckily I was able to take advantage of those.”
The 28-year-old carded nine birdies and two eagles, one of them coming courtesy of a converted 25 foot putt on the par five eighth hole, as he made it 36 holes without a blemish on his scorecard.
“It’s a brilliant golf course,” he said. “I know how dangerous it can be when it’s at its best and there have been some amazing events here, so you have to respect the golf course and luckily today it was generous.
“Six, seven and eight were three tricky holes where I had to place the ball well and on six I managed to hit a lob wedge to a pretty decent distance and rolled in a nice putt. On seven I managed to hit a brilliant eight iron into about 15 feet and holed a very good putt there.
“Eight was special,” he added. “I hit one of the nicest drives all day, leaving myself perfect yardage for a nice four iron which I hit to about 25 feet and then nailed the putt.”
Ritchie believes his ability to keep calm under pressure has been paramount to his impressive recent form and he will not change his game plan this weekend as he goes in search of his second victory in as many weeks.
“I go into my own little world out there sometimes,” he said. “I create a quiet place in my head where I feel calm and it feels like I’m playing golf with my eyes closed. I’m just going to put my head down and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin, Englishman Daniel Brown and South African Rupert Kaminski share fifth place on nine under par, while Frenchman Jérôme Lando Casanova, Iceland’s Haraldur Magnus and South African duo Prinsloo and Kyle Barker share seventh on five under par.
The final two rounds of the Jonsson Workwear Open will be played at Durban Country Club with the third round beginning at 7:30am local time. Ritchie will tee it up in the final group alongside Kruger and Mivis at 11:15am.