2nd October 2019 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Saulez closes in on Big Easy IGT maiden win

Saulez closes in on Big Easy IGT maiden win

(PHOTO: Matt Saulez; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 1 October 2019 – Matt Saulez retained pole position at Parkview Golf Club on moving day to leave himself in a great position to lift his first professional in the 13th event on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour .

The Durban rookie shared the first round lead with seasoned campaigner Thabang Simon on seven-under and maintained his momentum on Tuesday, reeling in five birdies for a four-under-par 68.

With 18 holes left to play and a three shot cushion on 11-under, Saulez is solely focussed on a good score on the final day and not thinking about the success which could follow.

“I trying not to think about it,” said the 20-year-old Durban Country Club golfer.

“I’m nearly back to kind of form that took me to second in the GolfRSA Open Amateur Rankings. All I care about at this point is another good performance. Winning would mean that all the hard graft was worth it, but it would be a bonus more than anything else. I really want to prove to myself I can put three sub-par rounds together. That’s the main focus right now.”

Saulez got off to a birdie start at the par five opening hole, notched three more birdies going out and overturned a lone bogey on the ninth with one more birdie coming home.

“The wind was tough to navigate today,” Saulez said. “It wasn’t too strong, blowing around 15 km per hour, but it was swirling a lot, which made club selection slightly tricky.

“I had another really good ball striking day and kept the ball in play for most of the round, which really kept the momentum going. And I was pleased to make a birdie on the first to start, because it set a positive tone for the day.”

Saulez wedged it to 15 feet on the par-three fifth and holed the birdie putt. A solid chip and putt on the sixth took him three under for the round.

“On the eighth, I pushed a 2-iron into the trees right, but I punched out with a seven-iron just short of the green and chipped in for birdie,” he said. “I pushed my tee shot on the ninth, too, and this time paid with a bogey, but I wedged it close on 12 for birdie to get it back to four-under.

“The rest of the round was solid, nothing fancy. Five-under today in much tougher conditions was a good score. I’ll take that any day.”

Saulez will play alongside fellow KwaZulu-Natal rookie Byron Coetzee and Simon in the final group, with Malcolm Mitchell, Matthew Spacey and Adriel Poonan chasing in the penultimate group.

Soweto’s Simon offset three bogeys for an even-par 72 and the Gary Player School of 2019 member finished third on his own on seven-under, while Coetzee from Cotsworld Downs mixed five birdies with a trio of bogeys for a 70 to take second on eight-under.

A further shot back is Poonan and Spacey, who also posted 70s to tie for fourth on six-under with reigning Race to Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader Mitchell. The Kloof golfer carded 69, but got within two shots of Spacey before a quartet of bogeys derailed his round.

“The field will be coming for me in the final round, but “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and if I play well enough, I’ll finish in front,” Saulez said.

“Someone could run hot and put a great round together and that’s fine by me. I’ve got a target that I want to get to and that’s all I will be focusing on. If I’m able to do that it will be reward enough.”

Stuart Smith from Botswana fired the low round of the day, a six-under 66 that boosted him to joint 17th on two-under, while Boland rookie Karl Osche matched Saulez’s 68 to make the cut – set at even-par – on the number.

Second Round Scores

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated at AMA

133 – Matt Saulez 65 68

136 – Byron Coetzee 66 70

137 – Thabang Simon 65 72

138 – Matthew Spacey 68 70, Malcolm Mitchell 69 69, Adriel Poonan 68 70

139 – Jason Froneman 67 72, Leon Vorster 69 70, Dylan Kok 69 70

140 – Gerard du Plooy 71 69, Carlo Heunis 69 71, Marthin Scheepers 68 72, Jeff Inglis (ENG) 69 71

141 – Quintin Wilsnach 69 72, Jason Viljoen 71 70, Keaton Slatter 71 70

142 – Gideon van der Vyver 70 72, Stuart Smith (BOT) 76 66, Jack Duthie 73 69, Jason Rossiter 70 72

143 – Jason Roets 70 73, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 71 72, Angus Ellis-Cole 72 71, Michael Pfeifer 73 70, Dwayne Basson 72 71

144 – Richard Joubert 72 72, Morne Buys 71 73, Michael-James Steyn 73 71, Bryce Myburgh 68 76, Luan Boshoff 70 74, Karl Ochse 76 68, Albert Venter 71 73, Allister De Kock 72 72

Missed the cut:-

145 – Xander Prinsloo AMA 73 72, Gerhard Pepler 74 71, James Pennington (SWZ) 70 75, Jason Smith 73 72

146 – James Searson 76 70

147 – Zabastian de Jager 72 75, Clayton Mansfield 69 78

148 – Gary Daoust (BEL) 74 74, Gareth Sargent 72 76, Stephan Erasmus 73 75, Neal Woernhard (SUI) 74 74

149 – Patric Dowling AMA 74 75, Paul Rodrigues 74 75, Quintin Crause 71 78, Michael Kok 71 78, Shalan Govender 71 78

150 – Donovan Liddicoat AMA 73 77, Donovan Pearse 76 74, Reinhardt Blaauw 73 77, Hennie O’Kennedy 76 74, Henning du Plooy 78 72

151 – Phumlani Maluka 71 80

152 – Romano Saincic 75 77, Divan Marais 73 79, Keanu Pestana 77 75, Duan Nagel 73 79, Jaco van der Merwe 80 72, Christian Basson 77 75, John McClean (NIR) 75 77

153 – Alpheus Kelapile 74 79, Eric Nel 77 76, Mark Fraser 77 76, Dean du Plessis 76 77, Jonathan George AMA 82 71

154 – Paulo Serrao (POR) 78 76

155 – Clinton Duncan AMA 80 75

156 – Marcel Steyn Scholtz 81 75, Tristan Eeles 75 81

157 – Alwyn Smith 80 77

163 – Albert Visser 84 79

164 – Sheldon Steyn (ZIM) 81 83

172 – Neo Mokgatle 84 88

WDN – Coert Groenewald 81 WDN

DSQ – Darren Slingers AMA 79 DSQ

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

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