Scot Jane Turner fired a second successive 69 to forge a two-shot lead on two-under at the summit of the leaderboard at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Wednesday in the second round of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International.
The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club player carded six birdies, including three in row from the 15th, to open a gap between herself and Nobuhle Dlamini.
The defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini is on level par following rounds of 68 and 72, three shots ahead of Chloe Williams from Wales, who returned rounds of 69 and 72.
GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kajal Mistry is in the mix for a third straight week going into the final round.
The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation golfer registered a 72 to grab a share of fourth on two-over with Scottish rookie Gabrielle Macdonald and overnight leader Jessica Dreesbeimdieke. Macdonald carded 70, while the lanky Namibian battled to a second round 76.
Testament to her focus, the 29-year-old Turner was so engrossed in her round that she didn’t know she had surged ahead of the field.
“I didn’t even know I had a two-shot lead. I’ll just have to do the same tomorrow,” said Turner.
“It was pretty windy out there with strong crosswinds, but I managed to keep control over everything and I holed some really good putts. That helped me recover from the little double bogey on nine.
“I actually holed quite a long putt on the 17th, and the previous two were good approach shots. You could actually, if you were quite aggressive, reach the 16th in two. I did that and two-putted for my birdie.”
Lurking ominously though is three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Dlamini.
By her own admission, Dlamini admitted that she didn’t play her best golf in the second round, but she was confident about her chances going into the final round.
“It was a tough day today from the star to the finish. I hit a lot of greens in regulation,” said Dlamini. “It wasn’t great overall. The back nine played really tough with the South-East wind. I’ll take it though. I’m level par, and two behind and still within reach.
“There’s nothing to stress about really. I’m going to go work on my putting now, and hopefully I’ll be sharper for tomorrow.”
The 27-year-old holds second place on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, following her win in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am two weeks ago, and a fifth place finish last week at the SA Women’s Masters.
The consistent play of Dlamini has seen her remain in line for the first title defence of her career at the scene of her breakthrough victory on tour.
“I think I’ve been quite consistent even when it’s not been going so well and holding my score together. Tomorrow I’ll have to chase a little bit harder, but I’ll also need to be cautious about what is happening around me.”
For the 23-year-old Williams, meanwhile, the chance to play in the final group will be a challenge she is relishing.
“I’m really happy with my putting at the minute; it’s come a long way actually,” said the Wrexham Golf Club player. “I’ve really struggled the last 12 months and it has taken time to come right.
“My entire game has kind of been in-and-out so I’ve had to be patient. But it seems to be coming together nicely. I’m really happy with where I am. I like being in the hunt going into the last day, rather than just trying to protect a score.
“The last time I was in the final group was over 18 months ago. I’m really looking forward to it.”