Euan Walker fights intense heat to get in African Amateur mix

Walker Cup contender Euan Walker battled the hottest conditions he’s ever encountered on a golf course to storm into contention at the halfway stage in the African Amateur Championship.

In an event won two years ago by Liam Johnston before he became a European Tour player, Walker carded a second-round 67 for a five-under-par total to sit just two shots off the lead, held by home player Garrick Higgo.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Walker of his position heading into the final two rounds. “My golf so far has been really good. I have also been happy how I have responded to the heat out there.”

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That was reference to the temperature soaring to 38 degrees and the humidity being 80 per cent, creating an extra challenge for players from start to finish.

“I’ve never played in heat like this before,” added the Kilmarnock (Barassie) player. “Maintaining concentration towards the end of a round is very challenging and I’ve tried to do that the best I can.

“Making sure I’ve had lots to eat and drink has been critical in that respect and my main focus for the final two rounds is that I am well rested. It is difficult to get any productive practice after spending five hours out there.”

Walker made his score with a burst of three straight birdies from the sixth. He also picked up shots at the 11th, 15th and 18th, with the only blemish on his card being a bogey at the


The new greens at Leopard Creek were tested for the first time when David Drysdale and Scott Jamieson both put in strong challenges in the Alfred Dunhill Championship on the European Tour in December.

“I don’t know what it was like before they made the changes, but I think the greens are really good,” said Walker. “Bermuda is a tough grass to get right and they’ve done a really good job with the greens here.

“They are more difficult to read for European players as we are not used to but they have been rolling really well and, especially from close range, I have been really consistent over the past couple of days.”

Ayr Belleisle’s Jim Johnston is next best among seven Scots on two-over, while Scotland sit 12 shots off the lead in the team event, which is being led by the South African Juniors.