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Vaillant tames the links to lead in South Africa

Vaillant tames the links to lead in South Africa

Tom Vaillant will take a three-shot lead into the weekend of the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship after he posted a sublime bogey-free eight under par second round of 64 at Humewood Golf Club.

Tom Vaillant (3)

The Frenchman carded two birdies on his front nine to make the turn at two under par, before adding four more birdies and an eagle to move to a 14 under total, three ahead of Road to Mallorca Number One Adam Blommé and last week’s winner JJ Senekal, who share second on 11 under.

The 21-year-old, who finished third on the 2022 Alps Tour Order of Merit, was pleased to make a strong start to the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship which is just the fourth European Challenge Tour appearance of his career.

“It was a good day today,” he said. “I followed my process, and the wind was pretty calm today which meant there were scoring opportunities out there. I just tried to enjoy my golf and go as low as possible, which is what happened so I’m very happy right now.

“It's nice to have no bogeys on the card, especially on links courses. I always try to pick small targets and not play too aggressively because that’s where you can get into trouble out here. My strategy is to hit the middle of the green and then take my chances with the putter.”

Vaillant represented France in the European Amateur Team Championship at Royal St George's Golf Club last year, and he believes his game is well-suited to tackle the tough conditions that links golf creates.

“I think my game suits links golf courses and I saw that pay off today,” he said. “Last year I played the European Amateur Team Golf Championships with the French team and I felt very comfortable on links courses.

“Tomorrow I will take the same sensible approach and focus on every shot and hopefully I can go low again.”

Englishman Steven Brown and Swede Henric Sturehed share fourth place on nine under par, while six players are a shot further back in sixth place, including Scotland’s Craig Howie and Sweden’s Anton Karlsson.

The third round will get under way at 6:30am local time, with Vaillant teeing it up in the final group alongside Senekal and Blommé at 10:40am.

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