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Coetzee ready for Joburg Open breakthrough

South African golfer George Coetzee is biding his time and staying focused on not over-playing his hand after the second round of the Joburg Open, hosted at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Friday.

“I’m trying not to force it. Last year I started forcing it a bit and my finishes got worse,” Coetzee said after coming through 36 holes at 10-under-par and one behind leaders Edoardo Molinari of Italy and Craig Lee of Scotland.

“This year it’s back to just playing golf and getting in contention on Sunday, and hopefully one of them will be a win.”

Coetzee posted a solid 68 on the tougher East Course at Royal Johannesburg, matching the 68 of Molinari, who also played the East Course. Lee played the West Course and signed for a 67.

The field now faces two rounds on the East over the weekend, a course which requires the patience Coetzee has developed over the last 12 months on the European Tour.

“I feel like I’ve played well enough to win a couple of times, but the other guys just did a little bit more,” Coetzee said earlier in the week.

“It’s just a question of when it’s my week, when that long putt goes in on the second-last hole or the last hole. It’s a matter of time.”

Coetzee’s new coach, Doug Wood, believes the local participant’s time will be soon, as Coetzee is reaching a new level of understanding about his swing.

“Things are moving faster than we’ve expected and I’m enjoying it,” Coetzee said.

“I’m not too worried about my game. That’s nice, after the break and the injury.”

The injury was a broken wrist after he went over the handlebars of his bicycle last year.

Coetzee joked that he was planning on taking a six-week holiday before the accident took place, leaving him with 10 weeks away from the game.

“I was going to take six weeks off and if I had to explain to everybody that I was just tired, it would have been difficult. But walking around with a cast on, I didn’t have to answer those questions. And the injury helped me understand my swing better.”

Now injury-free, Coetzee is looking forward to a big weekend, with a spot in the Open Championship possibly also in the picture if he finishes high enough in the top 10.

“You just stay patient. It’s going to be a grind, so you just stay patient.”

– Sapa

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