2nd July 2019 | Big Easy IGT Golf

O’Kennedy shares pole position at Akasia

O’Kennedy shares pole position at Akasia

(PHOTO – Hennie O’Kennedy; credit CJ du Plooy)

PRETORIA, 2 July 2019 – Stellenbosch Golf Club’s Hennie O’Kennedy surged up the leaderboard into a share of the lead with a flawless four-under 68 on day two of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #6 at Akasia Golf Club on Tuesday.

The Boland rookie moved up from an overnight share of sixth to three-under overall, alongside co-leader Matthew Rushton, who carded 69.

Sitting on two-under in second on his own is Gideon van der Vyver after a second round five-under 67, with Quintin Wilsnach matching Van der Vyfer for the low round of the day to finish a further shot back.

While co-leader Rushton – who plays out of neighbouring Erinvale – mixed an eagle at the par five fifth and a trio of birdies with two bogeys for a share of pole position, O’Kennedy submitted the only flawless card on the day.

It was that kind of consistency that makes him a favourite to lift the trophy on Wednesday.

“If I keep my same strategy it should serve me well in the final round, but it’s definitely going to be the guy who holes the most putts who walks off with the trophy. If I get the putter going I could shoot a low one,” O’Kennedy said.

Starting his round on the 10th, O’Kennedy recorded birdies on the 12th and 14th holes and he made further gains at coming home six and seven. Alongside 14 pars, it was indeed an impressive effort on the hard and fast putting surfaces of the Pretoria layout.

“I played pretty steadily, I hit most of the green in regulation and tried to two-putt most of them,” he said. “I hit a pretty good wedge shot to about three foot on the (par three) 12th. On the par five (14th), I hit a great drive and just had a wedge in.

“I knocked it to 10-foot past the hole and just missed the eagle putt, and tapped in for birdie. Then I boxed about a 40-footer for my third birdie at the (par four) sixth. On my third last hole (the par four seventh), I hit an eight-iron to about a foot from the hole.”

Navigating the tricky greens at Akasia requires full attention, something that will be at the forefront of O’Kennedy’s mind.

“The greens are quite firm so you can’t really attack the pins, you have to be quite conservative. I just tried to remain focussed and find the middle of the greens,” he explained.

“It’s not your normal type of greens where you can stop a wedge, you almost have to play to the correct part of the surfaces to have any type of run at birdie. Here you have to pitch it 10 or 15 feet short and run it up to the hole. If you want to get it close.”

At 23, O’Kennedy is slighter older than a lot of the other players on the development circuit which prepares young professionals for the Sunshine Tour.

But he has an advantage over most of the ‘young bucs’ in that he has already completed a three-year course – PGA of SA Diploma at Stellenbosch Golf Club through Swingfit. This allowed him to take an extra year before turning professional with the theory that it would better prepare him for life in the paid ranks.

A tie for seventh at State Mines last week boosted O’Kennedy to seventh in the Road to Sunshine Tour, and victory or a top-three in this event would help hugely in the quest to finish the season inside the top-six to earn a full playing card for the next Sunshine Tour season.

“That’s the ultimate prize and I definitely want to try and get into that top-six,” said the rookie.

“If I do that I’ll be pretty happy, but then everyone on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour is playing for the same prize. I just need a few good finishes to get myself in contention and it could start here this week.”

Second Round Scores

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

141 – Matthew Rushton 72 69, Hennie O’Kennedy 73 68

142 – Gideon van der Vyver 75 67

143 – Quintin Wilsnach 76 67

144 – Theunis Bezuidenhout 72 72, Michael Schutz 70 74, Malcolm Mitchell 75 69

145 – John McClean (NIR) 73 72

146 – Michael-James Steyn 74 72, Allister de Kock 74 72, Carlo Heunis 74 72, CJ Levey 76 70, Clayton Mansfield 72 74, Neal Woernhard (SUI) 70 76

147 – Albert Venter 76 71, Coert Groenewald 73 74, Dwayne Basson 74 73, Jaco van der Merwe 74 73

148 – Ruan Korb 77 71, Deon Bredenkamp 75 73, Reinhardt Blaauw 74 74, Cameron Moralee 75 73, Albert Visser 75 73

149 – Jason Rossiter 76 73, Christo Lamprecht AMA 77 72, Darin de Smidt 75 74, Desne van den Bergh 76 73, Thabang Simon 75 74

150 – Erhard Lambrechts 77 73, Werner Deyzel AMA 78 72, Hanlo Jacobs 77 73, Leon Vorster 81 69, Matthew Spacey 77 73, Jeff Inglis (ENG) 75 75

Missed the cut:-

151 – Alex Pienaar AMA 74 77, Marthin Scheepers 79 72, Cameron Esau 75 76, Mike Maile 77 74, Jason Roets 75 76, Jeremy Sharpe 79 72, Jack Rex Duthie 74 77, Luan Boshoff 74 77, Michael Kok 74 77, Thato Mazibuko 77 74, Christian Basson 79 72

152 – Leon Visser 77 75, Karl Ochse 78 74, Ruan Groenewald 81 71, Jonathan Waschefort 78 74, Clinton Grobler 78 74, Hans-Jurie Human 79 73, Dino Capazario AMA 82 70, Keegan Mclachlan AMA 79 73, Gerard du Plooy 77 75

153 – Shalan Govender 78 75, Keaton Slatter 80 73, Maverick Faber (FRA) 74 79, Matthew Carvell 76 77, Maritz Wessels 78 75, Zabastian De Jager 77 76, Andrew Burmester 79 74

154 – Gary Daoust (BEL) 79 75, Makhetha Mazibuko 81 73, Gareth Sargent 78 76

155 – Ruan Botha 80 75

156 – Tristan Topka 79 77, Henning du Plooy 77 79, Richard Joubert 83 73

157 – Eric Nel 80 77, Nicholaus Frade 79 78, Ruan de Smidt 78 79, Louis Botha 82 75, Romano Saincic 78 79, Jason Smith 82 75

158 – Paulo Serrao (POR) 82 76, Marnus Barnard AMA 82 76

159 – Divan Marais 79 80, Wynand Potgieter 81 78, Pequestro Dyssel 83 76, Dennis Williams 79 80, Arno Pretorius 82 77, Muhluri Mahime 83 76

160 – Gerhard Pepler 83 77

161 – Angus Ellis-Cole 82 79, Adriel Poonan 85 76, Clifford Thompson AMA 84 77

162 – Neil Swart (NAM) 81 81

163 – Phumlani Maluka 82 81, Marco De Beer 87 76, Evance Vukeya 79 84, Patric Dowling AMA 85 78

164 – Marcel Scholtz 84 80, Duan Nagel 80 84

165 – Jason Viljoen 84 81

166 – Martinus Barnard 81 85

167 – Frans Strydom 82 85

168 – Ruhan Van Dijk 94 74, Nikhil Gopal AMA 82 86

170 – Gerhard Botha AMA 87 83

171 – Clinton Duncan AMA 88 83

173 – Neo Mokgatle 87 86

RTD – Michael Pfeifer 84 RTD

 

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.

Latest Big Easy IGT Golf News