13th February 2018 | IGT Golf

Lucas edges clear of pack at Killarney

(PHOTO – Kyle Lucas; credit CJ du Plooy)

Lali Stander

JOHANNESBURG, 13 February 2018 – Kyle Lucas will carry a one-stroke lead into the final round at Killarney Country Club as he goes in search of a first IGT Challenge Tour title in the 15th event of the Race to Q-School Series.

Rounds of 66 and 67 have moved the Alberton golfer to seven-under-par 133 and given Lucas an excellent platform heading into Wednesday’s last round.

“With a wedding, a honeymoon and a trip to Asia all still happening this month, I can definitely do with the first prize cheque,” joked 26-year-old. “I won’t have an easy ride to the finish line, though.”

Six players are within three shots of his lead, including former Sunshine Tour campaigner Roberto Lupini and Italian Philip Geerts, who carded respective rounds of 69 and 67 to finish just one shot off the pace.

An eagle at 15 and a birdie at 18 helped joint overnight leader Ruhan van Dijk to regain his footing with a 70. The Kempton Park amateur is a further shot back at five under.

Matt Bright, Hendrikus Stoop and Juan Langeveld close out the top five at three-under 137.

Lucas began the second round one behind Lupini and Van Dijk.

He got his round off and running with a solid par at the 10th, but dropped the second.

“I hit a 4-iron and it flew left,” he said. “I ended up with a buried lie in the rough, but I somehow got it out and found the greenside bunker. I couldn’t up-and-down to save par, but at the next hole, I hit a great pitching wedge approach to 15 foot and holed the birdie putt.”

A brilliant 9-iron into 15 handed Lucas an eagle chance, but he left the putt short. “Didn’t make a mistake with the birdie putt and I turned one-over,” he said.

Lucas reeled in another pair of birdies at two and eight, but missed a birdie chance at nine.

“I was striking the ball better over the first nine holes, but overall, it wasn’t a great ball striking day. I hit a lot of approach shots between 10 and 15 feet, so I’d have to say that my chipping and putting was solid, though, and definitely saved me.

“If the game comes together nicely, who knows what will happen. It would be great to say good-bye to South Africa on a high note.”

Lucas spent four years competing on the collegiate circuit in the United States, but circumstances demanded that he took a full-time job when he returned to South Africa. For the last couple of years he worked in sales at an Australian Short Team Insurer and kept his game competitive with the odd start on the IGT Challenge Tour.

A stint in Asia inspired the Reading golfer to quit his job, wed his fiancée Lara de Villiers and after the honeymoon, the pair are off to Asia.

“My wife is going to teach English and I’m going to play several of the Asian circuits, but I’ll mainly compete on the Asian Development Tour, the Thailand PGA Tour, the Pilipino Tour and Indian Tour,” Lucas said. “I’m very excited about the future.

“I was in sales and the work was getting seriously repetitive. I went to try for a card at the Asian Tour Qualifying School last year and I just loved it over there. And Lara shares my enthusiasm and wanderlust, so it’s a whole new adventure for both of us.”

 

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