26th July 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Boardman stalks Strydom at Irene Challenge

Irene25-27JulDay1 (36)(PHOTO – Terence Boardman; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 26 July 2016 – Amateur Tristen Strydom pulled two strokes clear at the 36-hole mark at the Irene Challenge on Tuesday, but the Pretoria native will have joint overnight leader Terence Boardman from Edenvale snapping at his heels in Wednesday’s final round.

Strydom – already a winner on the country’s premier development Tour in 2014 – gave himself the ideal opportunity to notch a second IGT Tour victory when he secured the lead at eight under 136 with a superb five-under-par 67 at Irene Country Club.

A two-shot gap could be enough to pave the way for Strydom to the winner’s circle, but Boardman, who posted a second successive 69, is just as hungry to add a second title to his haul this season.

Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner Carrie Park stayed in touch with a 70 that saw her finish at three under and joint third with Zimbabwean Ray Badenhorst, who shot 68, while Ekurhuleni amateur Kyle McClatchie fired the low round of the day – a six-under-par 66 courtesy of a birdie-eagle finish – to slip into fifth at two under.

Dainfern amateur Dean Martin returned a 69 to complete the pack that came home below par.

Strydom burst from the blocks with a birdie and pocketed two more gains at eight and nine to turn six under. He cancelled a lone drop at the par four 12th with a flurry of birdies at the last three holes.

“A lead, no matter how big or small, doesn’t mean you are in the clear,” the 19-year-old Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate player said. “You can look at what the other guys do, but you have to beat the golf course as best you can. I hit the ball better today and made some solid putts, so I just have to try to do the same tomorrow and limit the mistakes.”

Birdies at seven, 10, 11 and 16 offset a lone bogey at nine and kept Boardman in a position to challenge for victory. Coming off the Big Easy Tour season, the 2016 Kyalami Challenge champion believes the game time on the Sunshine Tour’s development initiative could serve him well in the final round.

“Although I had a pretty poor start to the Big Easy season, my game started picking up towards the end and I definitely feel that I am coming into the form that saw me win on the IGT Tour earlier this season,” he said.

“Tristen has a two shot lead and he is playing well, so I will have to shoot a low number to beat him. But you can’t think about that; you just have to go out, do your best and see what happens.”

South Korea’s Park hopes to continue a stunning season that has seen her reel in six top 10 places, including a runner-up finish in April. The 19-year-old Seoul golfer refused to wilt under the pressure of a disastrous start and rallied with a trio of birdies over the closing holes to finish five off the pace.

“I had two bad swings at the second hole and paid for it with a double bogey,” Park said.

“I turned two over and my only goal was to play the back nine two under so I could finish with on par, but everything just worked perfectly over the last three holes. We are a long way behind Tristen, but it’s great to be in the top three again. Consistency is huge, and I’m pleased to be in this position again. I know this course well and if the weather is good, I might get a little bit more aggressive to try and shoot a low number. But we have to see what weather does, first.”

Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate’s McClatchie recently tied for second in a Big Easy Tour event at Kempton Park and he was delighted to see his name in the top five after his low 66.

“It’s nice to know that I am gaining confidence and getting more comfortable playing in the pro-environment,” said the 19-year-old. “I played poorly over the front nine in the first round, but I found something on the back nine. I was really calm and focussed out there today and I haven’t dropped a shot in 27 holes. Hopefully I can hand in another clean card tomorrow. It would be great to get a top 10 finish to take a bit of confidence to the EP / Border Stroke Play this weekend.”

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