Fisher takes control of Tshwane Open
Englishman Ross Fisher has stormed into the lead after the second round of the Tshwane Open at the Els Club Copperleaf with a brilliant seven-under-par 65 in the co-sanctioned event on Friday.
Fisher has represented Europe in the Ryder Cup and been ranked as high as number 17 in the world, but has struggled in recent times with his putting.
But the 33-year-old showed on Friday what a quality player he is when all facets of his game click, as it did on the back nine where he picked up four birdies and an eagle.
Fisher is on 13-under-par for the tournament and has a one-stroke lead over SA Open champion Morten Orum Madsen, who also shot 65.
That best score of the day was matched by Spaniard Carlos del Moral, who climbed into a tie for third on 11-under with joint first-round leader Simon Dyson.
South Africa’s Jake Roos also shot a 65 to climb to 10-under alongside compatriots Trevor Fisher Junior, who began the second round sharing the lead with Dyson, and Darren Fichardt, who was once again bogey-free in making 68 on Friday.
Fisher, who has not played in South Africa since the 2007/08 summer, said his strong desire to make the Ryder Cup team again has prompted his return to South African shores.
The move paid off with a tied-third finish at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and a tied-10th finish at the Joburg Open earlier this month.
“Having been in the Ryder Cup in 2010, having that experience, and then missing it in 2012, I was gutted,” Fisher said after his round.
“This year’s Ryder Cup team is a massive goal of mine. I feel that my game is better and I really want to make a strong push for the team, that’s why I’m playing more tournaments like these.
“It’s very difficult for us as foreigners to win here because the South Africans obviously know how to play here. But I’ve felt ready to win for a long time, it’s just piecing all the departments of my game together in one tournament. The long game has been there for a while and my irons, it’s just the putting that has let me down. To see the ball go in today has given me lots of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey collected seven birdies in a row on the back nine to move to 10-under.
Madsen was also one to shoot low on Friday and said he was pleased with his storming start to his round.
“I birdied four of the first five and that’s always a great way to start off your round and put yourself in a good mindset,” Madsen said.
“I had a hiccup on 15 and 16 not making birdie there, but luckily I got one on 17 and I was off and rolling again.”
The highly promising Dane said he had to police his emotions on the front nine and he managed to remain bogey-free.
“Winning has calmed me down a little bit, just by knowing what to expect. It’s hard to birdie every hole and you’ve got to deal with adversity well, because you’re not going to play perfect golf for 72 holes.
“Whoever deals with the bad holes and bad shots the best is probably also the guy who’s going to be on top come Sunday. I stayed patient in the beginning of my back nine and made a couple of birdies on six and seven, and then I saved a nice par on nine, so it was a nice way to finish,” the 25-year-old said.