2nd July 2019 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Mansfield on a mission at Akasia

Mansfield on a mission at Akasia

(PHOTO – Clayton Mansfield; credit Ernest Blignault)

PRETORIA, 1 July – KwaZulu-Natal golfer Clayton Mansfield refused to linger on a double bogey finish that cost him a share of the lead, preferring to look ahead at what he needs to do over the next two rounds to win the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #6 this week.

Mansfield took his lead from Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Toto Thimba.

“They are both Big Easy IGT and IGT Challenge Tour winners who have gone on and made it and if they taught us anything, it’s to persevere through the knocks and keep your eye on the end game,” said Mansfield.

The 24-year-old from Durban signed for an even-par 72 in Monday’s opening round and he will start the second round at Akasia Golf Club two shots behind joint leaders Michael Schutz and Neale Woernhard from Switzerland.

“The wind was really pumping on the ninth and I hit what looked like a great golf shot, but I watched as the wind took it and dumped it in the hazard,” Mansfield explained. “I could play it, so I chipped it on the edge of the green and three-putted for double.

“Not the way you want to finish an otherwise great round, but if I’ve learned anything out here on the development circuits, it’s that there is no point crying over spilt milk.”

Schutz turned four-under after wedging an eagle-three between birdies at 14 and 16 and he held the outright lead after a birdie at the par five eighth. He, too, made a double at the short ninth to set the clubhouse target at two-under.

Woernhard was flawless in his outward loop and pencilled a birdie at 13 and an eagle at the par five 14th on his card to turn three-under. His back nine was another story as he dropped shots at one, two and four. The Swiss golfer countered with a trio of birdies, but he let another one slip a bogey at the par-five eighth to join Schutz at the top of the leaderboard.

Mansfield reached the turn in one-under after a birdie at the par five 15th.

“I hit a lot of fairways and greens going out, and sunk some great putts to keep the round going, but coming through the turn, the wind went into overdrive,” said the former GolfRSA National Squad member.

“Everyone battled on that nine because it was so tough to judge your club selection, plus they had some pins tucked in really tough spots. I bogeyed the second, but I made up for it with two great birdies on seven and eight.

“I hit a great 3-wood off the tee at seven and 8-iron to six feet. I went with the 3-wood again at the eight, hit the green in two with a 3-iron and two-putted for birdie. The double left a sour taste in my mouth, but it’s more important to keep my eye on the target.”

The end goal is a full playing card for the Sunshine Tour.

To bag the reward, Mansfield must finish the season in the top six on the Road to Sunshine Tour, but missed cuts in his last two starts has done him no favours.

“I was third, but I dropped to sixth in the last two weeks, which isn’t good, but it’s not exactly a train-smash, either,” he said. “I had some personal issues to deal with and it definitely affected me adversely on the golf course.

“I’m learning to deal with that stuff now and I’ll know how to handle it if I’m on the Sunshine Tour or when I get to the European Tour and that is a plus. We all have to learn to pay our dues and to take things one step at a time. My coach Shaun Coetzee has been a rock and I’m in a much better head-space this week. It showed out there on the course. So, next step is to put together a decent score in round two and see where it leaves me.”

Matthew Ruston and Theunis Bezuidenhout both birdied the tough ninth to make it a three-way tie on two-under. Sunshine Tour rookie Hennie O’Kennedy, Coert Groenewald and Northern Ireland’s John McClean share sixth on one-over, while Alister de Kock and Dwayne Basson from the Gary Player School grabbed a seat on the 11-man bus at two-over.

First Round Scores

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA.

70 – Michael Schutz, Neal Woernhard (SUI)

72 – Clayton Mansfield, Matthew Rushton, Theunis Bezuidenhout

73 – Hennie O’Kennedy, John McClean (NIR), Coert Groenewald

74 – Jack Duthie, Luan Boshoff, Allister de Kock, Carlo Heunis, Dwayne Basson, Reinhardt Blaauw, Michael Kok, Jaco van der Merwe, Michael-James Steyn, Alex Pienaar AMA, Maverick Faber (FRA)

75 – Deon Bredenkamp, Thabang Simon, Cameron Moralee, Gideon van der Vyver, Malcolm Mitchell, Albert Visser, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Cameron Esau, Darin de Smidt, Jason Roets

76 – Matthew Carvell, Desne van den Bergh, CJ Levey, Jason Rossiter, Albert Venter, Quintin Wilsnach

77 – Hanlo Jacobs, Henning du Plooy, Zabastian de Jager, Thato Mazibuko, Matthew Spacey, Gerard du Plooy, Leon Visser, Erhard Lambrechts, Christo Lamprecht AMA, Mike Maile, Ruan Korb

78 – Werner Deyzel AMA, Maritz Wessels, Romano Saincic, Shalan Govender, Karl Ochse, Gareth Sargent, Clinton Grobler, Ruan de Smidt, Jonathan Waschefort

79 – Jeremy Sharpe, Tristan Topka, Hans-Jurie Human, Andrew Burmester, Dennis Williams, Christian Basson, Keegan Mclachlan AMA, Gary Daoust (BEL), Divan Marais, Marthin Scheepers, Evance Vukeya, Nicholaus Frade

80 – Ruan Botha, Duan Nagel, Keaton Slatter, Eric Nel

81 – Martinus Barnard, Leon Vorster, Neil Swart (NAM), Makhetha Mazibuko, Wynand Potgieter, Ruan Groenewald

82 – Marnus Barnard AMA, Dino Capazario AMA, Jason Smith, Arno Pretorius, Frans Strydom, Phumlani Maluka, Angus Ellis-Cole, Paulo Serrao (POR), Louis Botha, Nikhil Gopal AMA

83 – Pequestro Dyssel, Richard Joubert, Muhluri Mahime, Gerhard Pepler

84 – Clifford Thompson AMA, Michael Pfeifer, Marcel Steyn Scholtz AMA, Jason Viljoen

85 – Adriel Poonan, Patric Dowling AMA

87 – Neo Mokgatle, Marco de Beer, Gerhard Botha AMA

88 – Clinton Duncan AMA

94 – Ruhan van Dijk

RTD – Paul Rodrigues

DSQ – Neil Cheetham (ENG), Quintin Crause

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