29th January 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf
2014 IGT Tour returns, bigger and better
JOHANNESBURG, 28 January 2014 – After successfully guiding 25 players to their rookie season on the Sunshine Tour, the IGT Challenge Tour will begin the process of grooming the next wave of Tour Players with a packed schedule in 2014.
The fifth IGT Tour season will offer 38 tournaments in Gauteng and 24 events in KwaZulu-Natal and will kick off on 10-12 February at Randpark Golf Club, one of the popular stops on South Africa’s development tour.
This season, the tour will be split into four “Race to” segments, with each series comprising nine consecutive events followed by a short break. The segments include the Race to IGT 2014, the Race to the USA, the Race to Mauritius and the Race to Q-School.
The new Race to the USA will offer the leading players the chance to compete for $1-million in the United States.
Since its launch in 2008, the IGT Tour has paid out more than R6-million,” said IGT Challenge Tour commission, Cois du Plooy. “We have celebrated multiple winners among our graduates on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour and nearly 800 players have come through our ranks.
“The winner of this year’s Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School campaigned on the IGT Tour and nine of the top 10 players were IGT Tour regulars. Of the 31 players who earned their cards, 25 were IGT Tour players. That’s the satisfaction for us, to know that we have groomed these players to take their place on the bigger stage.”
JC Ritchie from Centurion, who finished eighth on the final 2013 IGT Tour rankings, will be taking his place on the Sunshine Tour this season.
The 19-year-old student at the GFG Academy earned nearly R70,000 in 35 starts and tied for third at Q-School. Richie consigned his success at Q-School to his coach Graeme Francis, a full season the IGT Tour, the support from his parents and Abe Foley from Sahara Sands, who lifted his financial burden over the 2013 season.
“Graeme gave me the technical know-how and constantly worked with me on my game, while the IGT Tour gave a place to compete, hone my game and add to the confidence, patience and consistency I needed to come out on top in Bloemfontein.
“Throughout the season, my parents and Abe supported me through highs and lows. I am really excited that I can finally show everyone that their investment was worth it.”
Du Plooy said it is important to live the IGT Challenge Tour motto ‘Where good players become Tour players’.
“We strive to provide professionally run events on par with the other international developmental tours around the world and provide a proper competitive platform for the South African professionals and hopeful amateurs,” explained IGT Challenge Tour commissioner Cois du Plooy.
“All our events are contested over 54 or 72 holes with a cut and entry is open to professional men and women, and amateur men and women with a handicap of four or less.
“Our aim is to give the professionals a regular schedule and the chance to keep competitive between Sunshine Tour events, while giving the amateurs the opportunity to test themselves and make an informed decision about their future.”