Senekal increases SDC Open lead as Purcell and McGee bow out

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Conor Purcell and Ruaidhri McGee will have the weekend off after they missed the halfway cut at the SDC Open in South Africa.

The cut fell at four-under-par with Purcell and McGee missing out at one-under and two-over respectively.

For Purcell it’s a first missed cut in seven starts after a scintillating run that included four top ten finishes in five starts.

The Portmarnock native was perched inside the top-10 of the Road to Mallorca rankings following successive top-7 finishes to start the season but will have a rare weekend off.

JJ Senekal enhanced his position at the top of the leaderboard by posting a five under par round of 67 on day two at Zebula Golf Estate & Spa.

The South African, who led by two overnight, increased his lead as he reached 15 under par and moved four clear of countryman Martin Vorster, who is second on 11 under after he posted a three under 69.

The 35-year-old’s three birdies on the front nine meant he made the turn at three under par before an eagle, another birdie and a bogey coming in put him in pole position heading into the weekend where he will aim to pick up his maiden European Challenge Tour title.

“I’m very happy with my score today,” he said. “I didn’t hit it as well as yesterday, but the putter was great and five under par is a good round of golf around here. My iron play has been pretty solid, and my distance control was good all day.

“I had to make a few good putts to save par today and show a different side of my game. There are a few long par threes where you must hit a long iron. I missed a couple left which is dangerous around here.”

Senekal believes his short game has been key to his success this week and he is relishing the chance to tee it up in the final group tomorrow.

“My short game has been brilliant, so I feel pretty comfortable anywhere around the green,” he said. “If I can hit it close tomorrow and roll in a few putts I think I’ll be in a pretty good position ahead of the final round.

“I really enjoy being in contention and playing in the final group. It motivates me to find another level and I can’t wait for the weekend. I’m going to try and do the same tomorrow and hit it good off the tee, hit as many greens as possible and hopefully the putter gets hot.

“I love playing in the bushveld and it’s so much fun out here. Seeing all the wild animals on your way to the course is something special.”

South African’s Estiaan Conradie, Combrinck Smit and Casey Jarvis share third place on ten under par with Englishman Alfie Plant and Spaniard Victor Pastor.

English duo Bradley Bawden and Tom Murray share eighth on nine under with South African’s Jaco Prinsloo and Herman Loubser and Spaniard Victor Garcia Broto.

The third round will get under way at 6:40am local time, with Senekal teeing it up in the final group alongside Vorster at 12:00pm.

Scoring HERE

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