JOHANNESBURG, 22 January 2018 – Tokkie van den Berg finished in the driver’s seat after first round action wrapped up in the 13th event of the Race to Q-School Series, however, Omar Sandys leads a troop of Gary Player School members who are hot on the heels of the Pretoria golfer at Modderfontein Golf Club. Six of the 24 players who broke par on day one in the IGT Challenge Tour event are members of the Sunshine Tour’s development initiative. Four Gary Player School players finished within five shots of Van den Berg, who set an unbeaten target with a flawless seven-under-par 65, including Sandys, who picked up two birdies on the back nine to join Philip Geerts in second on five-under. Makhetha Mazibuko carded a four-under 68 to grab a share of fourth with Ruan Huyshamen, Damian Naicker and amateur Andre van Heerden. Allister de Kock is four off the pace in joint eighth alongside Werner van Wyk and Big Easy Tour winner Wynand Dingle. Heinrich Bruiners is a further shot back at two-under with Sunshine Tour campaigners Callum Mowat and Breyten Meyer, IGT Challenge Tour winner Jason Roets and amateur Juran Dreyer. “I played with Omar today and we honestly had the best time out there,” Van den Berg said. “He keeps you so relaxed and you just really enjoy your golf. It’s amazing how he can conjure up these spectacular shots while he’s cracking a joke. I think when Omar really turns it on, we’ll be heading for cover. “It’s amazing how the Gary Player School players are starting to come through. Guys like Makhetha, Heinrich and Omar have started the season strong and it’s great for the younger guys to have such awesome role models. I think it’s just a question of time before one of them wins.” Van den Berg will be heading to the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in March himself. A good performance at Modderfontein this week could propel him into the top 10 in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit and the HPC Tuks Golf Academy player is keen to keep the momentum alive. “I’m really happy with my bogey-free effort,” said the 27-year-old Pretoria Golf Club player. “The last year felt like a very long grind. Some things were working, but there was always something that was off. I finally started to feel like I was on the brink of a breakthrough three weeks ago when the season restarted. “I am striking the ball incredibly well and I have a lot of confidence in my tee shots and irons. I’m not afraid to attack the pins and I give myself a lot of chances. The putter didn’t cooperate, though. I hit 17 greens in regulation in the final round at Centurion last week, but shot 71. Today I hit 16 greens and had 29 putts for a 65, so the putter has finally come to the party.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES (top 20) 65 - Tertius van den Berg 67 - Philip Geerts (ITA), Omar Sandys 68 - Andre van Heerden AMA, Makhetha Mazibuko, Ruan Huysamen (NAM), Damian Naicker 69 - Allister de Kock, Werner Van Wyk, Wynand Dingle 70 - Juran Dreyer AMA, Breyten Meyer, Callum Mowat, Heinrich Bruiners, Jason Roets 71 - Gerard du Plooy, Antonio Costa (CHL), Nick Loake, Coert Groenewald, Clinton Grobler, Luke Brown AMA, Paul Boshoff, John McClean (NIR), Dayne Moore (ZAM)
PHOTOS - Tokkie van den Berg, Omar Sandys, Makhetha Mazibuko and Heinrich Bruiners; credit CJ du Plooy.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the IGT Challenge Tour. ... See MoreSee Less
Look out for IGT Challenge Tour winner and GolfRSA National Squad member Kyle McClatchie talking BWM SA Open, shooting the breeze with boyhood hero Charl Schwartzel, winning the Freddie Tait Cup & golf development on SABC Sports Live tonight! From 20h30 on DSTV Channel 404 ... See MoreSee Less