Play-off delight for Du Plessis at Irene
(PHOTO – Hennie du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE (27 May 2015) – Hennie du Plessis claimed the biggest victory of his burgeoning career in wire-to-wire fashion, but the Limpopo teenager had to stage a dramatic fight back to tie Bryandrew Roelofsz in the GFG Academy Classic and claim his maiden IGT Tour title in a play-off at Irene Country Club on Wednesday.
The pair finished at 13-under-par 203 at the end of regulation play after Roelofsz mixed eight birdies with a bogey for a seven under 65 and Du Plessis clawed his way to a closing 70 after a triple bogey at the par-five ninth hole nearly derailed his title hunt
The players headed back to the par-four first for the sudden-death play-off.
Both players were on the green for two, but Roelofsz left his approach six feet short of the pin while Du Plessis parked a lob-wedge from 75 meters barely two inches from the hole.
Roelofsz left his birdie putt short and Du Plessis sealed the victory with a tap-in birdie.
“It was touch and go out there, but this time I just really wanted to win,” said the 18-year-old Sesambos golfer.
“I believe that resolve carried me through the ups-and-downs to the winner’s circle.”
The GFG Academy player made his IGT Tour debut in the Race to the USA at Irene Country Club in March last year.
“I tied for 24th and I remember walking off the golf course and wondering if I would ever be ready to beat the professionals,” he said.
“Ten months later I won the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School. I think that’s why I was extra determined to win here at Irene and winning my own academy’s tournament makes this an extra special victory for me.
“Drew has won twice this season already, so I’m sure he won’t mind ‘giving’ me this one!”
Du Plessis carried a two shot lead into the final round and added to his tally with back-to-back birdies at six and seven, but ran into trouble just before the turn.
“I guess I must have lost focus for a minute,” he said. “I hit a good tee shot, but drove my second out of bounds. I eventually got on the green and two-putted for an eight. At the 10th, I drove it right and had to lay up, but I chipped in for eagle and that gave my round some momentum.”
Playing the 11th hole with the wind in his back, Du Plessis over-clubbed and finished with a bogey, but he mailed a seven-iron to give at the par-three 14th and tapped in for birdie to stem the bleeding.
He two-putted for birdie at the par-five 17th to tie Roelofsz and made a great up-and-down for par at 18 to force the play-off.
“It took me a while to find my feet on the Sunshine Tour, but the last couple of weeks have been really good,” said Du Plessis.
“I made the cut in both tournaments in Zambia and tied for second in the IGT Tour’s Autumn Swing Challenge at ERPM. I had another top 10 in the CA Academy Classic last week and I tied the course record at Centurion Country Club on Sunday.
“It felt like I was edging towards a win and when I put myself in a good position with that 65 in the first round, I just wanted to finish it off.
“It’s great to come back to the IGT Tour to keep the game sharp and to stay focussed. We have the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Langebaan coming up, so this breakthrough comes just at the right time.”
Amateur Chris van Tonder fired a 66, Mark Williams and Christiaan Bezuidenhout returned 67s and Toto Thimba Jnr carded a 70 to tie for third on 11 under 205.
203 - Hennie Du Plessis 65 68 70
203 - Bryandrew Roelofsz 71 67 65
205 - Chris van Tonder (AMA) 70 69 66, Mark Williams 74 64 67, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 67 71 67, Toto Thimba Jnr 67 68 70
208 - Louis Calitz 72 69 67, Francois Coetzee 67 68 73
209 - CJ Levey (AMA) 67 73 69, Bartjie de Klerk (AMA) 69 69 71
212 - Andi Dill (AMA) 70 72 70, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 70 70 72
213 - Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 70 73 70, Drikus Bruyns 72 71 70, Danie Pretorius 70 72 71, Eddie Taylor 73 69 71
214 - Tyron McComb 72 72 70, Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 69 71 74, Louis Taylor (AMA) 72 67 75
215 - Tyrone Ryan 75 72 68, Juran Dreyer (AMA) 77 68 70
216 - Christiaan Pretorius 73 71 72
217 - David Ashley (AMA) 72 74 71, David Lamprecht 68 76 73
218 - Norman Beggs 78 69 71, Divan Marais (AMA) 74 72 72, Herman Minnie 76 71 71, Jandre Fullard (AMA) 72 74 72
219 - Matthew Vogel 71 76 72
220 - Dylan Docherty (AMA) 71 75 74, Peetie Van Der Merwe (AMA) 72 72 76
221 - Joubert Van Eeden (AMA) 71 75 75, Michael Schutz (AMA) 75 76 70
223 - Marco De Beer (AMA) 68 78 77, Rhoan Gardiner 74 76 73, Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA) 80 70 73
224 - Patrick Thompson 75 72 77, Wim Grobler 74 74 76, Brendan Britten (NAM) 76 75 73
225 - Wayne Stroebel 74 73 78, Jacques Swarts (AMA) 73 75 77, Slade Fick (AMA) 75 74 76, Shane Heckler (AMA) 71 79 75
226 - Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL 77 70 79, Terence Boardman 79 71 76
227 - Armand Azar (AMA) 72 76 79, Owen Grobler 77 76 74, Carlos Arroyo (AMA) 79 76 72
228 - Vincent Mienie (AMA) 75 75 78, Francois van Rensburg (AMA) 74 76 78
230 - JP Schmidt (AMA) 74 79 77, Albert Visser (AMA) 79 75 76
231 - Wesley Baptiste (AMA) 76 77 78
232 - Quintin Crause (AMA) 77 76 79
234 - Paul Cuningham 78 73 83, Amerigo Renieri (AMA) 77 75 82, Gerard Du Plooy 79 75 80
238 - Waldi Potgieter (AMA) 74 79 85
240 - Duan Nagel (AMA) 77 78 85
WDN - Matt Bright (AMA) 74 80 WDN ... See MoreSee Less
Du Plessis in familiar territory at Irene
(PHOTO – Hennie du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE (26 May 2015) - Hennie du Plessis will be gunning for his first IGT Tour victory in the GFG Academy Classic on Wednesday after maintaining his overnight lead with a second round four under 68 at Irene Country Club.
The 18-year-old Limpopo rookie is in pole position at 11 under 133, two strokes clear of Francois Coetzee and Toto Timba Jnr, who both registered 68s.
Sunshine Tour player Mark Williams sizzled with a superb 64 and Bryandrew Roelofsz, a two-time IGT Tour winner this season, fired a 67 to vault to six under alongside amateur Bartjie de Klerk (69) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout (71).
Du Plessis, who seized control with an opening seven under 65, was enjoyed four birdies over a flawless the front nine.
The putter froze, though, and he only managed another gain at the par-five 17th and a lapse of concentration saw him sign off a bogey at the closing hole.
“I was striking the ball really well and I gave myself a lot of chances,” the GFG Academy player said.
“The putts were dropping on the front nine, but I lost a little momentum after the turn. I managed to grind out pars, though, and I didn’t drop any shots.
“I think that’s why it was so frustrating to finish with bogey. I thought I had an easy up-and-down to save par, but I hit a poor chip and three-putted. I lost focus at the 18th, but I can promise you that won’t happen in the final round.”
A former top ranked junior, Du Plessis began campaigning full-time on the country’s premier development Tour in May last year.
He quickly established himself as a contender with seven top 10 finishes in 10 starts and, in January, graduated to the Sunshine Tour by winning the Qualifying School in Bloemfontein.
After a rocky start, Du Plessis earned his first two cheques in the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open and Zambia Sugar Open in April.
Between Sunshine Tour qualifiers, Du Plessis still campaigns on the IGT Tour and in his last two starts, he tied for second in the Autumn Swing Challenge at ERPM Golf Club and ninth in last week’s CA Academy Classis at Wingate Park Country Club.
Now he is ready for a podium finish.
“You have no control over what the other players’ do,” he said.
“I someone shoots the lights out, like Mark did today, it’s something you have to accept. I definitely believe in myself, I believe I can win and if I go out there and give it my best effort, I’ll be smiling – win or lose.”
SECOND ROUND SCORES
133 - Hennie Du Plessis 65 68
135 - Francois Coetzee 67 68, Toto Thimba Jnr 67 68
138 - Bartjie de Klerk (AMA) 69 69, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 67 71, Bryandrew Roelofsz 71 67, Mark Williams 74 64
139 - Louis Taylor (AMA) 72 67, Chris Van Tonder (AMA) 70 69
140 - CJ Levey (AMA) 67 73, Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 69 71, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 70 70
141 - Louis Calitz 72 69
142 - Eddie Taylor 73 69, Andi Dill (AMA) 70 72, Danie Pretorius 70 72
143 - Drikus Bruyns 72 71, Ryan Cairns ZIM 70 73
144 - David Lamprecht 68 76, Christiaan Pretorius 73 71, Tyron McComb 72 72, Peetie van der Merwe (AMA) 72 72
145 - Juran Dreyer (AMA) 77 68
146 - Jandre Fullard (AMA) 72 74, David Ashley (AMA) 72 74, Joubert van Eeden (AMA) 71 75, Divan Marais (AMA) 74 72, Marco de Beer (AMA) 68 78, Dylan Docherty (AMA) 71 75
147 - Patrick Thompson 75 72, Matthew Vogel 71 76, Norman Beggs 78 69, Herman Minnie 76 71, Tyrone Ryan 75 72, Wayne Stroebel 74 73, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL 77 70
148 - Wim Grobler 74 74, Jacques Swarts (AMA) 73 75, Armand Azar (AMA) 72 76
149 - Slade Fick (AMA) 75 74
150 - Rhoan Gardiner 74 76, Vincent Mienie (AMA) 75 75, Terence Boardman 79 71, Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA) 80 70, Shane Heckler (AMA) 71 79, Francois van Rensburg (AMA) 74 76
151 - Paul Cuningham 78 73, Brendan Britten NAM 76 75, Michael Schutz (AMA) 75 76
152 - Amerigo Renieri (AMA) 77 75
153 - Owen Grobler 77 76, JP Schmidt (AMA) 74 79, Waldi Potgieter (AMA) 74 79, Quintin Crause (AMA) 77 76, Wesley Baptiste (AMA) 76 77
154 - Matt Bright (AMA) 74 80, Gerard Du Plooy 79 75, Albert Visser (AMA) 79 75
155 - Carlos Arroyo (AMA) 79 76, Duan Nagel (AMA) 77 78
Missed the cut:-
156 - Brett Liddle 78 78, Werner Lourens (AMA) 81 75, Nico Du Buisson (AMA) 79 77, Hein Dreyer (AMA) 72 84, Gustav Gouws (AMA) 78 78
157 - Pedro August 81 76, Jacques De Villiers (AMA) 76 81, Lourens Du Plessis 74 83
158 - Michael Armstrong (AMA) 81 77, Dylan de Beer 77 81
159 - Wayne du Toit 81 78
160 - Conor Thornton IRE 83 77, Matt Wollman (AMA) GER 86 74, Reynhard Reynecke (AMA) 77 83, Sean Graham (AMA) 80 80
161 - Etzard Grimbeek (AMA) 80 81, Adriel Poonan (AMA) 83 78, Keanan Aysen (AMA) 79 82, Angelo Marques (AMA) 79 82
163 - Benjamin Cobbett (AMA) 77 86, Juan de Bruin (AMA) 83 80
165 - Tommie Brits (AMA) 86 79
166 - Gerard van Zyl (AMA) 87 79
170 - Dean Schonegevel (AMA) 84 86
172 - Clayton Ackermann (AMA) 86 86
179 - John Hanekom (AMA) 90 89
190 - Melchior Raath (AMA) 92 98
N/R - Michael Kok (AMA) 81 N/R, Niel Meyer 80 N/R ... See MoreSee Less
IGT Pro Tour added 3 new photos.
IGT is proud to be hosting our next event 1 -3 June at the newly design Randpark’s Firethorn course.
The radical transformation of Randpark’s renowned Firethorn course, which has hosted two South African Opens and many other tournaments, is complete!
There are seven brand new holes, 18 new greens and greens complexes moulded into shape by internationally acclaimed course shaper Alex Ligowski, major changes to the bunkering have been undertaken, the river that runs through the course has been cleaned up and refurbished, and alien vegetation removed to the point where Firethorn is an eco-friendly "green lung".
"Essentially, the old Firethorn needed a facelift, the course features were dated and greens and bunkers were more than 20 years old,” says course designer Sean Quinn.
"Many of the greens were unnaturally perched, which was the style in the 1980s and early 1990s. The high sand bunkers although impressive, were extremely problematic to maintain, particularly during the stormy summer months.
""The river flowing though the property was a massive engineering nightmare, it continually eroded and was completely overgrown with alien trees to the extent is was not visible in many places other than the opening and finishing holes.
"The old par-3 second hole was a problem from an erosion perspective. The retaining wall that held up the green had been rebuilt at huge cost and was continuing to fail. We decided the hole should be eliminated entirely. There were numerous cross-overs which we tried to eliminate, but after about 12 alternate layout proposals the late Doug Bain and I decided on the current configuration.”
Randpark’s director of golf Mellet Hendrikse feels two of the best holes are the new par-5 second, with the river running alongside the entire length of the hole, and the par-4 sixth which has a distinctly US Open course look about it.
"I would agree with Mellete as No 2 and No 6 were good changes,” says Quinn. "The new No 2 (the old par-4 third hole) was always a low stroke hole, but in my opinion unfair. Strong players could carry the corner which was essentially the overgrown river bank, whilst weaker players had to play the full length of the dogleg resulting in a stroke imbalance.”
"By clearing out the river and pushing the tees back we made this into a par 5, where the stronger players will no longer gain the same advantage over the weaker players by cutting the corner to the same extent. Also, opening up the river-scape, removing the wall and lowering the bridge has made for one of the more picturesque holes on the course.”
"This river has some magnificent rock outcrops that were completely hidden by years of alien vegetation growth. The old course made very poor use of the river in terms of strategy, and we now have eight holes that relate to the river in some form.”
Quinn is most excited about the front nine changes to holes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. "Essentially we reversed 6, 7 and 8, and I believe all three are better holes now. The par-3 at No 2 has been replaced with a new par-3 at No 5. We removed the artificial ponds at the short 7th, reversed the hole and now make use of the river as the water hazard. The 9thhole, we lowered the green, opened up the right side of the fairway, added better bunker strategy, and made this a very exciting short par-4 with many options on how to play it.”
Quinn believes it will prove a very user friendly course, as long as the correct tees are used for the level of play. Many of the old fairway bunkers designed back in the early 1990s were too much in play for shorter players and way out of play for the longer players. So the Golf Data team moved the fairway bunker strategy out about 15-20 metres on average, in a bid to make the course fairer.
"A priority throughout the design and construction process was to provide players with options on every hole,” says Quinn. "It’s very much a risk/reward design philosophy, and entirely feasible for players to steer away from trouble; but to score well, one must take on an element of risk. We have tried to limit forced carries from the forward tees. The large greens have some interesting contours but nothing too dramatic, and there are numerous bail out areas around the greens. We have strived to open the course up visually, and have lowered greens to make the putting surfaces more visible.”
Firethorn’s old par-5 18th hole has been transformed into a long par-4, a tough hole that will make for a demanding finish to the round. It is stroke one on the card.
Quinn has been a Jack Nicklaus designer since 2004, but held a dual design role with Golf Data until the end of 2013. He is now fulltime with Nicklaus. In South Africa, on behalf of the Golden Bear, he has designed St Francis Links, Serengeti, Houghton and more recently Steyn City. Overseas he was involved with the Australian Golf Club which hosted last year’s Australian Open.
For Golf Data, amongst numerous other courses, he has redesigned Parkview, Country Club Johannesburg (Woodmead and Rocklands), Durban CC, Glendower, Humewood and a few others.
Three years ago he was also involved with the re-design of Randpark’s other course, Bushwillow (the old Windsor), which has been an unqualified success.
On behalf of Nicklaus, he is currently busy with 14 projects in Asia all at various stages of design and construction, and he commutes regularly to China, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Although the course revamp is complete, Randpark experienced the worst flood in living memory just last month after a deluge of rain in a short space of time. Bridges on the course were washed away and damage was extensive. A clean-up project will take a while to complete, according to project manager Tom Buckle. "You know,” he said, "the very day before the flood I said to myself that we had finally finished and all was well. Then we got the rainstorm and the massive damage and I felt like I was a tractor with a flat tyre. We’ll get it right, though, and fortunately the course itself is fine.
"I just wish Doug (Randpark’s CEO Doug Bain who succumbed to cancer late last year aged just 42) was still with us. The transformation of Firethorn was his dream and his passion. He was the driving force behind this project and he must take much of the credit for the success it has become.”
NEW CARD OF THE COURSE
(Men’s club tees)
No 1, 372m, par-4
No 2, 476m, par-5
No 3, 368m, par-4
No 4, 490m, par-5
No 5, 158m, par-3
No 6, 344m, par-4
No 7, 380m, par-4
No 8, 170m, par-3
No 9, 318m, par-4
Out: 3076m, par-36
No 10, 394m, par-4
No 11, 380m, par-4
No 12, 494m, par-5
No 13, 376m, par-4
No 14, 488m, par-5
No 15, 164m, par-3
No 16, 412m, par-4
No 17, 192m, par-3
No 18, 445m, par-4
In: 3346m, par-36
Total: 6422m, par-72 ... See MoreSee Less