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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Max Homa and Matthieu Pavon share Nedbank Golf Challenge lead at Sun City

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The Nedbank Golf Challenge is poised for an intense weekend of action with a leaderboard that is as hot as the midday African sun and with American Max Homa and Frenchman Matthieu Pavon locked in a share of the lead at Sun City.

On a day when the 66-man field was given the option to wear shorts in the stifling heat, Homa signed for a 68 and Pavon added a 66 to see them share the lead on 10 under par. They are one stroke clear of England’s Dan Bradbury, who bogeyed the last to slip out of the lead.

European Ryder Cup star Nicolai Højgaard is just two shots back while Hennie du Plessis leads the South African challenge on seven under par.

But with defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and double Major champion Justin Thomas only four back, there is still plenty to unfold on the fairways of the Gary Player Country Club over the next 36 holes.

For Homa, it was another pleasant surprise to be at the top of this leaderboard.

“I’m very pleased and a little surprised. The body has felt better as the week’s gone on. I woke up today and felt like a golfer again. If you’re going to fly 20-odd hours over here you might as well play some good golf, so it’s nice that I’m doing that,” said the world number eight.

Pavon has been feeling equally comfortable.

“It’s been two solid days. Everything is clear in my mind and I just show up and do my best. I’m more focused on me than what anybody else is doing. I’ll grind as much as possible and then we see what happens on Sunday.”

But for both, the key has been avoiding the trouble lurking around these 18 holes.

“I played really smart and made it pretty stress free. You have to guess the wind right a lot. It’s incredibly confusing. So I feel like patience is key. I feel like we’ve done a good job in knowing where to leave the second shots and where not to be.

“It’s a very demanding golf course. You’re going to be out of position and you’re going to have some tricky shots, so I try not to overpower it. I’ll just play conservatively and rely on the putter.”

It was a similar theme for Pavon.

“I haven’t put myself in any trouble out there. It’s tight around the flags here so you need to be conscious about where you can miss.”

Vlismas Media

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