3rd July 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Ammies dominate on day one at Killarney
(PHOTO – David McIntyre; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 3 July 2017 – Day one of the IGT Challenge Tour’s Killarney Challenge belonged to the youth as aspirant professionals David McIntyre, Eric Nel and Arno Pretorius led the field at Killarney Country Club, while three rookies and amateurs Jordan Prytz and Angus Ellis Cole also got into the mix on Monday.
McIntyre from Eagle Canyon fired a three-under-par 67 to shoot to the top of the pile.
He leads by one from Nel and Pretorius from Tshwane, who shared second with Callum Mowat, a former IGT Challenge Tour graduate campaigning in his third season on the Sunshine Tour and the most experienced player in the top 10.
Randpark rookie Kyle Barker finished in fifth on his own at one under and Prytz and Ellis-Cole from Ekurhuleni registered rounds of even-par 70 to complete the top 10 with Pretoria rookies Paul Boshoff and Albert Visser, as well as Shaun van Tonder from Alberton.
Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini – the only rose among the thorns this week – is four off the pace.
McIntyre is hunting a third victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit, following his maiden win in the 2015 BDGA Classic and his second in the fourth Race to Q-School event last year.
The 20-year-old was well pleased with the promising start.
“I played the national amateur circuit at the start of the year, but after I missed the cut in the second stage of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School at the end of March, I made a club change,” said the BDGA Academy player. “With nearly two months off, it was the opportune time to change to the Titleist AP2s and a Scotty Cameron putter.
“It took me a while to get comfortable with the new clubs and I put in an appearance at the Centurion Challenge a couple of weeks ago where I tied for 24th. I put in some more hard graft in the last few weeks, so I’m happy to have played myself into contention again.
“I didn’t have the ideal start. I hit my tee shot into the fairway bunker at the first and the ball plugged just under the lip. After the drop at the first, I birdied four and five, gave another one back at seven, but birdied nine to turn one under.”
McIntyre finished sixth in the First Stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School at Killarney and had a good game plan for the back nine.
“Killarney is not the kind of course where you can attack or get too clever, especially over the last nine holes,” he said. “You have to plan and execute well and play for position. I only hit driver once on the back nine, because if you play conservatively, you have a chance to score.”
He broke a run of five straight pars with a birdie at the par five 15 and enjoyed a birdie finish at the tough closing hole.
“I hit a good five-iron to 15 feet at the 15th to set up a pretty easy birdie,” he said. “I always birdie 18 or stuff it up, but today it went my way. I had 115 metres in after a solid drive and I hit sand-wedge in. The ball checked up nicely, finishing six feet behind the hole and I made the putt. I felt great over the clubs and like I said, it’s a promising start, but there is still a lot of holes to go.”
Nel had a lone bogey at the short sixth, Pretorius had a trio of birdies at five, seven and eight and mixed further gains at 12 and 15 with bogeys at 13, 14 and 18 and Mowat’s round of 70 featured four birdies, two bogeys, an eagle at the par five 15th and a double bogey at eight.