12th October 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Advantage O’Riley at Pecanwood Race to Q-School
HARTEBEESPOORTDAM, 12 October 2015 – Just a week after he lost the title chase to Pieter Kruger in the first IGT Pro Tour’s Race to Q-School, Dean O’Riley produced a birdie fest at Pecanwood Country Club to take pole position in the second event in the series, presented by the BDGA Academy.
O’Riley fired nine birdies at the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout for a six-under-par 66.
The 26-year-old Benoni Country Club pro leads by four from Jason Froneman, Herman Minnie, Siphiwe Siphayi and amateurs Tom Watson and Louis Taylor. Sunshine Tour regulars Wynand Dingle and TJ Bekker and amateurs Slade Pickering and Amerigo Renieri are in the bus at one under, while Kruger tied for 17th on two over after a frustrating day with the putter.
O’Riley described the round as one of his best in recent years and the performance certainly harked back to the kind of form that lifted him to the top of the South African Golf Association’s Amateur Rankings. He mixed three birdies with a bogey on the front nine and pulled away from the field with a run of four birdies on the trot after the turn.
“I got to eight under with birdies at 15 and 16, but I lost the battle with the bunkers on the last two holes,” O’Riley teased after his bogey-bogey finish. “I hit it in the fairway bunker at 17 and couldn’t up-and-down to save par and at 18, I hit my tee shot in the fairway bunker and my second in the greenside bunker. Actually, I tested 12 of them in my round and they are pretty good.” O’Riley said the round was down to a hot putter as opposed to a solid swing. “I didn’t strike the ball all that well, but my putting was on song and it felt like I was holing everything I looked at,” he said.
“I watched a lot of the Presidents Cup on the weekend and studied the way the players, especially the Americans, approached the Jack Nicklaus greens. “The greens here at Pecanwood are simply sublime. They are typically big with a lot of undulation, but they are running quick and true. I didn’t do anything spectacular on the back nine. I just took advantage of the par-fives and read the putts well on the remaining holes. “It’s nice to sleep on a four stroke lead; it takes the pressure off just a little. I won’t change a thing about my strategy at this course.
I really want to ride this lead to a victory on Wednesday.” Froneman, who broke through for a maiden IGT Tour win in the Tour Bound Classic in June, Watson, Taylor and Siphayi all had four birdies to offset a pair bogeys. Minnie had a feast of seven birdies, but the GFG Academy player himself down with double bogeys at six and 15 and another drop at 13.