Dawson and Galbraith lurking in South Africa
 Robin Dawson. Picture © Pieter Els

Robin Dawson. Picture © Pieter Els

Maynooth University's Robin Dawson and Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith are just a shot off the halfway lead in the South African Strokeplay Championship.

Faithlegg's Dawson made six birdies in a fantastic, five-under par 65 to get to seven under par alongside Galbraith (66) and South Africa's Brandon Cloete at a soggy Kingswood Golf Estate in George.

Scores | Rd 3 Draw

Galbraith needed a par four at the 18th for a 65 that would have left him tied for the lead with Sweden's Oliver Gillberg (65) on eight under but dropped his only shot of the day to end up in a three-way tie for second.

Castle's Alex Gleeson shot a one-over 71 to share 10th place, six shots off the lead on two under par with Kevin LeBlanc (70) also in the top 20 on level par.

Stuart Grehan (70) is tied 24th on one over with Colin Fairweather (70) and Colm Campbell (70) both making the cut with a shot to spare on three over par.

Naas' Conor O'Rourke had a tough day at the office and a six over 76 to his opening 75 to miss the cut (144) by seven strokes.

Lali Stander reported on behalf of Golf RSA, a SAGA and WGSA that Dawson was delighted that his third start in the South African Golf Association’s flagship event got off without hiccups.

“The previous two times at Port Elizabeth and Blue Valley I had one bad round and I finished in the deep twenties, so to be within reach of the lead after two rounds is great for me,” said the 21-year old Waterford man.

Now in the final year of an Equine Business Management qualification on a Paddy Harrington scholarship at Maynooth, he's not putting his house on a second successive Irish win just yet.

 Sweden's Oliver Gillberg. Picture © Pieter Els

Sweden's Oliver Gillberg. Picture © Pieter Els

“It was fantastic for Ireland when Jack (Hume) won last year, but I’m not a betting man,” he laughed. “We’ll take it one shot at the time, but there are at least two of us now within a shot of Oliver, so that does double our chances.”

Gillberg laid an early marker for the lead with a birdie-birdie start.

The 20-year-old from Orebro piled on more gains at the 13th, 18th, fourth, fifth and eighth to offset a drop on each loop.

The Swede has been in the Southern Cape for five days with the Swedish Men's Squad and arrived on the third of February.

The wet weather was not exactly what he expected on his second visit to South Africa.

“The last time I was here was on a holiday with my family about 12 years ago, and it was always sunny,” said Gillberg.

“The rain was a bit of a surprise this morning. It definitely changed my game plan, especially club selection, because the air was quite heavy and the ball didn’t fly as far. 

“But the rain did soften up the greens, so you could get a bit more aggressive with the irons. These greens are fantastic, but the grain is tricky. It can change two or three times on a 25-metre putt, so it’s best to get them close to the pin. Inside eight feet, you can hole them.”

The skies opened early on Wednesday morning just as Marquette University graduate Cloete started his second trip around Kingswood.

“I played really well tee to green, which is how you score here and I just stayed patient,” he said. 

“Oliver was holing everything he looked at and that kept me focused. I tried to keep pace with him without chasing birdies. The putter worked well and helped me with crucial par saves where it counted to keep going. Despite the rain, I had a great day and hopefully, I can keep it going.”

 Scotland's Craig Ross. Picture © Pieter Els

Scotland's Craig Ross. Picture © Pieter Els

South African Amateur Open, Kingswood Golf Estate (Par 70)

132 Oliver Gillberg SWE 67 65

133 Robin Dawson IRL 68 65; Brandon Cloete 67 66; John Ross Galbraith IRL 67 66

134 Edgar Catherine FRA 66 68

135 Craig Ross SCO 69 66

136 Pierre Pineau FRA 69 67; Frédéric LaCroix FRA 68 68; Andre Nel 67 69

137 Dan Brown GBR 70 67

138 Alex Gleeson IRL 67 71; Liam Johnston SCO 66 72

139 Andrew Carlsson 71 68; Marcus Svensson SWE 69 70; Gregory Mckay 69 70; Victor Veyret FRA 67 72

 

Other Irish

 

141 Stuart Grehan 71 70

143 Colin Fairweather 73 70,  Colm Campbell 73 70

Cut (144)

151 Conor O'Rourke 75 76