Sun City – Zander Lombard had to win his fellow South African fans over as he took the lead heading into the weekend at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City on Friday
The 24-year-old Lombard posted a stellar round of seven-under 65 to reach 11-under and secure a two-shot lead into the weekend.
The local fans flocked to watch the star-studded feature group, which featured four-time major champion Ernie Els, defending champion Lee Westwood and Lombard.
The South African supporters were vocal for their all-time favourite the ‘Big Easy’ with Lombard admitted that he was determined to win the crowd over.
“It was amazing, the crowd was at it’s max. They were all into it,” Lombard told reporters following his round.
“They were cheering for Lee and Ernie in the start but I won them over in the end so it was awesome.”
Despite managing two bogeys in his round, Lombard seemed to the only golfer going 4-under and above.
“For me it (the course) was a bit easier out there for me today… I could trust my distances a bit more,” he said.
“The course has definitely dried out, we got a little bit of carry and a little bit of run. I kept it in the right sides of the holes and gave myself easy putts. It’s always nice when they roll in.”
Lombard, who is making his debut at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, insists he needs to remain calm if he wants to hoist the crystal ball trophy.
“I try not to think about that but I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing because it seems to be working,” he said.
“It’s a huge opportunity and if I can keep myself calm and do the same in the weekend.”
Meanwhile, overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen managed a level par round to remain on 9-under on the leaderboard.
Leading scores after the second round of the European Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday at the par-72 Gary Player Country Club in Sun City (RSA unless noted):
133 – Zander Lombard 68-65
135 – Louis Oosthuizen 63-72
137 – Thomas Detry (BEL) 66-71
138 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 69-69, Marcus Kinhult (SWE) 69-69
139 – Joachim B Hansen (DEN) 69-70, Aaron Rai (ENG) 70-69, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 69-70
140 – Nacho Elvira (ESP) 70-70, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 71-69, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 70-70, Guido Migliozzi (ITA) 67-73, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 70-70, Paul Waring (ENG) 69-71, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 71-69