Purcell delighted to recover from slow start to remain in the mix

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Conor Purcell was pleased to see work on the mental side of the game pay off as he recovered from a sluggish start to post a one-over 73 to lie six shots off the pace at the halfway mark of the Bain’s Whisky Open in Cape Town.

Purcell is three-under-par with experienced South African Jaco van Zyl leading the way on nine-under after a 65.

It could have been much worse for the Portmarnock man who, after opening with a 68, started round two with a par and a hat trick of bogeys. He briefly arrested the slump with a welcome birdie on the par-5 7th but immediately coughed it up on 8 to turn in 39.

The 25-year-old managed to shake off the morning tiredness and came roaring back with birdies on 12, 13 and 16 to get back to -4 and although he gave a shot away on 17, he was pleased with how he hung in and didn’t shoot himself out of the tournament.

“It was a very slow start, an early start this morning and I was a bit sluggish starting off, three-over after four and making silly mistakes,” said Purcell. “The sunlight was really low and it was just weird visually looking at the course so I hung in well, turned in three-over and made a few birdies coming in so fought hard until the end which was nice.

“Yeah that’s one of the things I’ve been trying to do, just not let any start faze me and take every hole as it comes whether I have a good or bad start and I did a good job at that today.”

The Dubliner arrived off the back of a career-high 7th on the DP World Tour at December’s Australian Open which capped off an excellent second half of 2022 where he earned full status on the Challenge Tour for this term.

“It’s nice to get sunshine in February when it’s freezing at home. I love playing in the heat so the only thing getting used to down here is the grass type. It’s a bit different down here so far so good.

“It’s nice to be able to plan this year, last year had a lot of stop start and finding out last minute so to be able to plan my year and go back to places I have good memories of will be nice so keep doing what I’m doing and keep progressing each year and see what happens.

“I can contend most weeks when I play well. I’m definitely up there so it’s just a matter of being consistent and fighting hard on the weeks I don’t have my best, every point matters, it can be very small margins coming down to the end of the year.”

Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee recovered from a torrid run of four bogeys in five holes around the turn with three birdies in his last five holes to make the cut on the mark at level-par after two rounds of 72.

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