2nd March 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Snyman maintains Krugersdorp lead despite lukewarm putter

KRUGERSDORP, March 2 – Overnight leader, Ian Snyman, carded a second-round three-under-par 69 in the Big Easy Road To #7 at Krugersdorp to take his tournament total to nine-under-par ahead of the final round and a shot clear of Michael Kok.

Backing up a fine score such as the 66 he produced on day one was always going to be a tough ask, and –by his own admission – with a not-so-warm putter at hand, Snyman had to rely on other aspects of his game to score well on Tuesday.

“The flat stick was a bit cold today compared to yesterday,” said Snyman. “but I hit my irons beautifully today. I hit two 8-irons and they were both inside four feet and they both looked like they were going to go in. I think it was a solid day overall; I hit the driver solidly and I was happy with the way I worked the whole day.”

Snyman only made two birdies on the front nine on Tuesday – on the par-five second and seventh holes – but surrendered a shot on the par-four fifth. After turning in 36 – in stark contrast to his round-one five-under 32 on that set – Snyman found some rhythm on the back. He picked up a par on the 10th, then a birdie on 11 and 12 before making further gains with a birdie on 14. Three pars later, however, and on the last hole, Snyman made a drop to sign for a 69.

At nine-under after 36 holes, Snyman is only a shot ahead of Michael Kok whose 66 on day two catapulted him to second on the leaderboard at eight-under-par. His bogey-free round will be a confidence booster as he looks for his second win this season and an improved lie on the Order of Merit.

“I saw Michael Kok played really well today and it should be a fun group tomorrow,” added Snyman. Kok also boasts an IGT Tour win this season and lying just one shot off the pace ahead of the final round in Krugersdorp – and having been in contention countless times this season – he will relish the opportunity to have a go at another title.

Snyman has full status on the Asian Tour and following his IGT Tour win at ERPM earlier this season, he will look forward to the final round in Krugersdorp with excitement as he establishes himself as a serial contender.

Lying third on the leaderboard and joining Kok and Snyman in the final group on Wednesday is be Jason Froneman whose round-two 70 helped him to a tournament total of seven-under-par.

1st March 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Snyman grabs Krugersdorp lead with Froneman lurking

KRUGERSDORP, March 1 – Ian Snyman made seven birdies and a single drop on his way to a six-under-par round and a slim one-shot lead over Jason Froneman on day one of the Big Easy Tour Road To #7 at Krugersdorp Golf Club on Monday.

He birdied the par-five first hole to settle himself into the proceedings, made par on the second hole which is also a par-five, and then made another birdie on the third. He kept things steady after that, gladly taking pars in the next three holes. A hat-trick of birdies followed to rubberstamp a very strong start and the lowest score – five-under 32 – of any player on that front set.

“It was a beautiful day today – one-club wind at most,” said Snyman. “I played the front nine nicely today and I hit the ball really well. I thought I had a couple more chances there but I couldn’t take them all. I set myself up decently the whole front nine; hit fairways hit greens and made the putts I could make. Very low-stress golf on the front nine.”

Birdies on the par-five 12th and the par-three 14th holes took his total to seven-under with four holes remaining. Snyman then surrendered a shot on the next hole before closing with three straight pars in what was one of his best rounds this season.

“I also thought I played solid on the back nine,” added Snyman, “I missed one or two greens on the back which resulted in me not making as many birdies. But it was a solid day in general. It was just sometimes tricky to judge in which direction the wind was blowing, so if I wasn’t sure about which direction the wind would go, I would just think back on previous holes to try and compare that.

“But the thing I liked the most today was that I hit the ball with the center of the clubface 99% of the time. I made a few changes in my swing and it was nice to see it paying off. This is a marathon and not a sprint, so I will take things one round at a time.”

An eagle on the first hole was accompanied by back-to-back birdies to define Froneman’s scintillating start to Monday’s round. A bogey followed but Froneman shrugged it off with his second eagle of the day, this time on the par-five seventh. Another dropped shot on the ninth followed but Froneman bounced back with three birdies on 11, 12 and 14. His joy was short-lived, however, as he made bogeys back-to-back on 15 and 16 to sign for a five-under 67.

Bradley Diggeden is third on the leaderboard after an opening round of 68 while Romano Saincic and Jonathan Waschefort share fourth at three-under. Michael Kok, Herman Loubser and Ricky Hendler share sixth at two-under.

27th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Loubser seeking second win on Road to Sunshine Tour

PRETORIA, February 27 – Herman Loubser is looking for his second victory on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour series when tournament number seven gets underway on Monday at Krugersdorp Golf Club.

Loubser, who won the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in March 2017, won the Big Easy Road to #3 at Reading Country Club when his opening round of 62 put him out of reach, and he cruised home to a four-stroke victory over Keagan Thomas with second and third round scores of 66.

Loubser, who spent 14 years living on the Isle of Man, and returned to South Africa with his parents to win the five-round marathon Q-School tournament at Randpark, immediately made a mark on the Sunshine Tour with a share of fourth in the 2017 Investec Royal Swazi Open.

Since then he has struggled to show the kind of consistency that win and that rookie performance promised, and, despite top-10s in the 2018 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Zebula, the 2019 Cape Town Open and the 2019 Vodacom Origins event at Sishen, he found himself in 104th on the 2019-20 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and unable to get regular starts on that circuit.

With the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour offering six places at the end of the series of 18 tournaments, it was natural for Loubser to turn his attentions there.

As he goes into the tournament at Krugersdorp, he finds himself in 10th place on the Road to the Sunshine Tour points list behind the leader Vaughn van Deventer. Loubser is on 11,722.50 points from two tournaments, with Gerhard Pepler his immediate target in 10th with 13,837.50 from five.

Loubser’s goal is to get into the top six ahead of the three-tournament play-off series which is scheduled for the latter half of November at State Mines Country Club, Wingate Park Country Club and Centurion Country Club. From that point on, his fate would be in his own hands.

The no-nonsense approach which Loubser brings to the game could be just the thing needed for him this week as he tries to regain some of the flair which brought him early professional success in the Swaziland tournament in 2017. That came in a modified stableford event, which rewarded aggressive golf.

That’s exactly the kind of play which will remind Loubser of all the times he has gone low, and it could make him hard to stop once again.

25th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Nel reaches milestone on Road to Sunshine Tour

While there is plenty of distance still to be covered on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour series, Therion Nel finds himself sitting pretty after his victory in this week’s tournament at Centurion Country Club.

He has climbed into third place on the list after a play-off victory over Michael Hollick in the sixth event in the series of 18 tournaments ahead of the three-tournament play-off series which is scheduled for the latter half of November at State Mines Country Club, Wingate Park Country Club and Centurion Country Club.

Nel built his victory in the rain-affected tournament that was reduced to 36 holes instead of 54 on bogey-free golf. He opened with an eight-under 62 which made him pretty tough to catch, and, although Hollick got it to 12-under, Nel’s closing four-under 66 was enough to force the play-off which he took on the third hole of a sudden-death shootout with a birdie on the 18th.

His victory vaulted him into third spot on the Road to the Sunshine Tour points list, behind the leader Vaughn van Deventer and second-placed Erhard Lamprechts.

Kyle McClatchie, Dylan Kok and Gerhard Pepler currently make up the top six, with those positions after the play-off series earning their playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour.

Nel is now within striking distance of Lamprechts in second, and, although there are still 12 more tournaments ahead of the play-offs, he’s set himself up for a push for the rewards as long as he maintains the kind of consistency that brings success in the long haul on a circuit like the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.

His stroke average in the six tournaments he has played on the Road to the Sunshine Tour is 68.55, and it has been below par all the way. Of particular significance is the fact that he averaged 71 around the tough Els Club Copperleaf, which is no mean feat and indicative of his ability to keep his scorecard tidy.

That neatness was underlined by his bogey-free stroke average of 64 in this week’s tournament at Centurion. He averaged 69 in the Big Easy Road to #4 there back in December, and 67 in a Big Easy Chase to the Sunshine Tour event in January.

It was significant that he has his best putting performance at Centurion this week, with 26.5 putts per round. He averages 29.97 over 13 tournaments on both circuits, with average putts per round at Centurion of 28.67 and 31.33 on the other two occasions he’s played there.

Clearly, putting is going to occupy his attention as he seeks to stay inside the top six on the Road to the Sunshine Tour.

24th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Hot putter hands Nel maiden Big Easy Tour win in weather-affected Centurion

CENTURION, February 24 – Therion Nel carded unblemished rounds of 62 and 66 to claim a playoff victory over Michael Hollick for his maiden Big Easy Tour win at Centurion Country Club on Wednesday and says it’s all down to a sizzling-hot putter.“

The biggest thing was my putting,” Nel said after claiming his first win on this circuit. “The weather made things tough because even though the course was pretty scorable, it played a bit longer because the fairways and the greens were softer.”

The weather was a big factor in this week’s Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour Road To #6 at Centurion so that the first round had to be suspended with half the field yet to tee off because of dangerous weather. Nel was in the afternoon field and barely halfway through his round, play was suspended because of an approaching storm. It was Michael Hollick who sat atop the leaderboard after an opening round of five-under-par 65 before play was called and when round one play did eventually finish, it was Nel sitting at the summit after a bogey-free eight-under 62.

Tournament organisers then decided to cut the event short from a 54-hole event to a 36-hole tournament due to the unforgiving weather which continued to hit these parts of the Gauteng region.

In the second and final round, and teeing off before Nel again, Hollick raced to a spectacular seven-under-par 63 to take his tournament total to 12-under and wait for challengers to try and unseat him from the top.

Eight birdies and a bogey characterised Hollick’s round as he continues to build confidence but Nel had other ideas on Wednesday. A perfect four-under 66, combined with his opening-round 62, took his total to 12-under, forcing a playoff with Hollick.

“My game plan was not to make any drops,” he said, “and after the first round, I saw I was four shots behind and knew I had to play, at least, four-under in the second round. I just told myself to keep doing what I was doing and I was going to give myself chances and luckily it worked.

”Having fallen short of a victory on a few occasions on Tour already this season, the playoff presented Nel with a unique opportunity to claim his maiden title at the expense of a Sunshine Tour winner.

“The first playoff hole, we made pars; I hit it right into the bunker. Not a great chip and made a par-putt. Second playoff hole, he hit a really good drive and I hit it into the bunker again. I knew I had to make a birdie to keep it alive because Hollick only had to two-putt for birdie to win and luckily I hit a better chip and boxed a 10-feet birdie.

“The third playoff hole, he hit it into the woods and hit his third shot on the back edge of the green and I knew all I needed was a par. So, I am happy to get the job done, I’ve been close a couple of times. It’s a big relief to finally get it done; the first one is definitely the hardest and hopefully, I have now opened the floodgates.”

23rd February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Hollick has uneasy wait ahead at rain-drenched Centurion

CENTURION, February 23 – Michael Hollick has done what he can, and he will have to wait until tomorrow to see if his seven-under-par 63 will be enough to win the Big Easy Road To #6 at Centurion Country Club.

With the tournament plagued by stormy weather, and much of the first day lost to a waterlogged course, the tournament has been reduced to 36 holes, and there are still 57 players who have to play their second round on Wednesday.

But Hollick has completed his play for the week, and a superlative round with eight birdies and a bogey saw him in the clubhouse at 12-under for the tournament and a three-stroke lead over Gerhard du Plooy.

At this stage, of the players who still have to play their second round, only Therion Nel, who sits at eight-under after his opening effort, and Dylan Kok on six-under seem to be in any position to catch or overtake him. That, of course will require a round of four-under or better from Nel, and seven-under or better from Kok.

It has been done: Hollick was not the only player to go low on Tuesday, with the amateur Yurav Premlall going bogey-free on his way to a seven-under 63 of his own.

For now, Hollick holds pole position for the title. But he will have an uneasy night and he will watch the action anxiously tomorrow.

22nd February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Hollick in front as play gets suspended in Centurion

CENTURION, February 22 – The opening round of the Big Easy Road To #6 at Centurion Country Club was abandoned due to storms which left the course in unplayable conditions on Monday.

The decision to suspend day one of this event came after the round had been halted a few times to let the storm pass.

While more than half the field was yet to finish the round, it was Michael Hollick who sat atop the leaderboard after an opening round of five-under-par 65 before play was called.

Coming in hot in a share of second and only through the first nine holes of the course is the duo of Dwayne Basson and Leon Vorster at four-under.

Ruan Groenewald, Llewellyn Booysen and Wynand Potgieter find themselves in a share of fourth at three-under, and they are among many players who will finish their rounds on Tuesday.

Adriel Poonan finished at two-under and along with Switzerland’s Andre Bossert, Matthew Rushton, Siyanda Mwandla, Nikhil Rama, Carlo Heunis, Nicholaus Frade and amateur Tiaan De Jager – who are all yet to finish their rounds – share the seventh spot.

The second round will resume at 06h50 on Tuesday.

20th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Brown takes confidence, form into next IGT tournament

PRETORIA, February 16 – He won the last Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour Road to the Sunshine Tour tournament, and Luke Brown takes that memory as well as recent form into Monday’s Road to Sunshine Tour #6 at Centurion Country Club.

Brown fashioned a come-from-behind win at The Els Club Copperleaf on January 27 with a closing six-under-par 66 in the Road to the Sunshine Tour #5, and he finished in fifth place in the Chase to the Sunshine Tour #19 at Wingate Park which finished on Wednesday, and that despite a closing round of three-over-par 75 which included four bogeys and a double.

“I think it was a combination of a few things,” said Brown of that finish. “I was hitting my driver with a bit too much spin and with the wind being up, a bad shot just gets amplified.

“Also, trailing the lead after eight holes, I felt I got a bit impatient and tried to force things. Looking back I would have just liked to be in touch going into the back nine especially with those three par-fives at Wingate

“But those are good things to learn and hopefully it helps me out at Centurion next week!”

The man who came third in the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in March 2020, and has seen his rookie season on that circuit wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been putting in some good performances on the Big Easy IGT Tour Challenge Tour recently, and he feels that he is putting himself in a good spot to get another win.

“It always builds confidence playing nicely” he said, “and having played well for a few straight weeks now it’s like a snowball effect where the confidence and trust in yourself grows. But it is a new week so everyone is starting on equal footing, so I can’t think too far ahead.”

At this stage of the Road to the Sunshine Tour, there does, however, have to be some thinking ahead. The series has a total of 10 tournaments ahead of the three play-offs which are scheduled for the latter half of November. The top six after the play-offs will earn Sunshine Tour cards. Brown is in 10th place currently, so getting closer to sixth place is getting increasingly important.

And the competition is tough on both parts of the IGT – the Road to the Sunshine Tour, and the Chase to the Sunshine Tour: “I would say they are close to equal,” said Brown. “Fewer Sunshine Tour players can play the Road to Sunshine Tour events, but then guys travel from around the country to play them and don’t necessarily travel for the Chase to Sunshine Tour events.

“But I think it’s hard to win no matter what, which is why playing either event and trying to win is such fun.”

18th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Kok scrambles to top of Chase to Sunshine Tour

PRETORIA, February 18 – Michael Kok may have finished down in a share of 24th in this week’s tournament on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour at Wingate Park Country Club, but he has edged into the top spot on the Chase to the Sunshine Tour.

He has overtaken long-time leader Casey Jarvis at the top of the rankings, edging ahead with the 335.67 points he earned this week. Kyle McClatchie stayed in third place, with Leon Vorster and Vaughn van Deventer in fourth and fifth.

The top three players on the Chase to the Sunshine Tour rankings at the end of the season, which has 21 tournaments to go ahead of the final on 13 December, will get their playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour.

Kok’s performance might not have been enough to win the tournament, but it illustrated the value of persistence in golf, and especially in professional golf as he seeks to earn his playing rights on the country’s premier circuit.

His perseverance is perhaps best illustrated by his scrambling statistics. Scrambling is a stat that is calculated to work out how good a player’s short game is. It is a chip or a putt from less than 50 yards away that results in requiring one putt or less on the green. And Kok lies second on the scrambling list of players who have 20 rounds or more under the belt on the circuit.

Kok has scrambled successfully 58.31 percent of the time in the 68 rounds he has played, compared to the category leader, amateur Werner Deyzel, who has been successful 68.28 percent of the time in the 20 rounds he has played.

While Kok only managed a 50 percent success rate at Wingate Park, it was the very act of making sure he stayed as high as possible on the leaderboard that has resulted in his position in the Chase to the Sunshine Tour. He has achieved rates as high as 80 percent during the season, and he has been in the 70s three times and the 60s five times. When he won at State Mines on January 20, his scrambling topped the list for the tournament at 72.22 percent.

He is backing up his short game with solid putting, averaging under 30 putts per round at 29.05, which shows he’s doing solidly in what many consider to be the most important part of the game. He averaged 27.33 putts per round at Wingate Park, and has been under 28 per round a further eight times during the season.

While there is still some way to go in the season before the final, his consistency stands him in good stead as he seeks to earn his Sunshine Tour card.

17th February 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Korb saves best for last as he dazzles to Wingate victory

PRETORIA, February 17 – It was a classic case of saving the best for last for Ruan Korb as his bogey-free final round of 67 in the IGT Tour Chase To #19 Wingate proved to be the best round of the day while also earning him a come-from-behind one-shot victory on Monday.

The Wingate Park track is by no means a walkover of a golf course and with constantly gusting winds causing uncertainty and influencing many to alter their game plans for the most parts of the first 36 holes of this event, the final round was always going to be a tough contest.

The Conradie brothers – Ruan and Estiaan – along with Martin Rohwer had taken charge of proceeding after they all carded 67s on day one. By the end of round two, it was the younger Conradie – Estiaan – leading the way after a dominant 66 score to take his tournament total to -11, with Rohwer lurking ever so dangerously at -10 while Ruan had slipped down the leaderboard.

A slow start on Monday saw Korb sign for a 70 but he recovered well on day two to sign for a 68 to lie five shots adrift and in a share of fifth at six-under-par.

“I got new clubs and the first two rounds were my first competitive rounds with the clubs,” reveals Korb, accounting for his work this week. “I didn’t have any high expectations this week but I knew coming in that my game was sharp.

“I know the Conradies well and I thought Estiaan was going to run away with it because he knows this place so well and you could see in the first 36 holes. Maybe it was not his day but I am happy I pulled it off.

”Korb was three-under and bogey-free through the front nine while Estiaan Conradie and Rohwer were even-par. Rohwer dropped on the seventh hole to cancel out the birdie he’d made on the sixth hole, while Estiaan made a double on the second to surrender the two birdies he’d made on the front.

Rohwer struggled to piece together a low score on Wednesday and finished on a tournament total of 10-under, a shot back of Korb. A tough day for Conradie yielded a one-over-par round for a share of second with Rohwer.

While he doesn’t like chasing, and didn’t have huge expectations of himself, perhaps it was a good thing that Korb got off to a slow start this week. The old wisdom which states that it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters the most, seems to have been proven true. Now he walks home a champion for the second time this season after claiming the Time Square Championship on the Sunshine Tour last year.

“I don’t like chasing,” he joked, “but when the opportunity is there, you have to take it. This win means a lot to me because it’s my second win in two different circuits this season, so it’s special.

”Ruan Conradie finished fourth at eight-under, Luke Brown finished fifth at six-under-par while Heinrich Bruiners, Andrew Van Der Knaap and Ryan Tipping placed in a share of sixth at five-under-par this week.

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