7th March 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Froneman seeking improvement this week at Reading

PRETORIA, March 7 – Jason Froneman closed with a three-over-par 75 in his last tournament and he will be looking for an improvement as he tees off in the Big Easy IGT Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour #20 at Reading Golf Club on Monday.

The Kempton Park professional currently lies in 10th position on the Chase to the Sunshine Tour points list, and with three spots on the Sunshine Tour up for grabs at the end of the 40-event season and the final set for Centurion on December 13, he’ll be keen to eliminate those kinds of rounds as he tries to play his way back onto the Sunshine Tour.

Had he played just level-par for that final round last week at Krugersdorp Golf Club, he would have finished level with eventual winner Ian Snyman and that would have given him a substantial leg-up on the rankings.

Instead, as the series approaches its halfway point, he finds himself just over 13,000 points behind the player who is currently in third place, Kyle McClatchie.

The leader on the list is Michael Kok with 48,910 points, more than double the number which Froneman has at 23,835. Kok has been a consistent performer this season, and that kind of consistency is going to be the key to earning one of those coveted cards in December.

The difference between Kok and Froneman is illustrated by their stroke averages for the season. Kok is at 70.40 over 63 rounds, while Froneman is at 71.65 over 54 rounds. And, when they get into trouble, Kok is also more successful in scrambling his way to par: He’s done so 58.33 percent of the time, compared to Froneman who has achieved a 52.43 percent success rate in that department.

It’s a small field for Reading, and with Kok, Leon Vorster, Ryan Tipping and Herman Loubser who are ahead of him on the list, Froneman will have very clear targets as he goes about trying to ease his way closer to that top three.

4th March 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

McKay’s putting sees him climb on Road to Sunshine Tour

PRETORIA, March 4 – Gregory McKay finished in a share of second this week in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #7 at Krugersdorp Golf Club, and it has been his putting which has seen him climb inside the top six in that series.

He has eased into fifth position on the list after rounds of 71-67-72 saw him close one stroke behind winner Ian Snyman, giving him the runner-up berth together with Richard Joubert and Bradley Diggeden. The top six players at the end of the series will earn their Sunshine Tour playing privileges. There are 11 tournaments left in the series ahead of the three play-off tournaments which are scheduled for the latter half of November at State Mines Country Club, Wingate Park Country Club and Centurion Country Club.

A quick perusal of the headline statistics which are usually indicators of success – stroke average, driving accuracy, greens in regulation – shows that the young man who has yet to win on the tour has been working on an aspect of his game which Bobby Locke emphasised with his oft-quoted ‘drive for show, putt for dough’ aphorism.

McKay has averaged 1.55 putts per hole over 342 holes, which is the best figure for anyone who has played more than six rounds of golf – the equivalent of just two 54-hole tournaments on the circuit. He shares that top spot with Llewellyn Booysen, who has played 360 holes.

McKay has been in the top 10 in four of the seven tournaments he has played, and he averaged 1,50 putts per hole at Krugersdorp, joint second-best for the week. His best performance came in the second tournament in the series at State Mines at the end of October, where he averaged 1.41 putts per hole. His worst performance was at The Els Club Copperleaf in January when he missed the cut and averaged 1.83 putts for the 36 holes he played.

That he has missed only one other cut in the seven tournaments is testimony to just how much good putting is keeping him in contention, and it is something that should stand him in good stead in his professional career.

Still topping the table of the Road to the Sunshine Tour is Vaughn van Deventer, who missed the cut at Krugersdorp. In second is Therion Nel, with Kyle McClatchie and Erhard Lamprechts in third and fourth. Dylan Kok is in sixth, and Gerhard Pepler slipped to seventh as he made way for McKay’s elevation into the top six.

The next tournament in the series will be on March 23 at Pollak Park, but the Chase to the Sunshine Tour resumes with tournament number 20 in that series teeing off on Monday at Reading Golf Club in Alberton.

3rd March 2021 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Snyman wobbles then wins Krugersdorp title

KRUGERSDORP, March 3 – There were plenty of wobbles along the way on Wednesday, but Ian Snyman rallied and his two-over final-round 74 was enough to give him the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #7 title at Krugersdorp Golf Club.

The man who has qualified to play on the Asian Tour made a double bogey, four bogeys and four birdies to finish seven-under-par for the 54-hole tournament. That put him one shot clear of Richard Joubert, Bradley Diggeden and Gregory McKay who shared second after rounds of 67, 69 and 72 respectively.

“I’m very relieved to pull this one off,” said Snyman. “I had a solid first two days and I couldn’t miss the centre of the clubface or the fairway or green, and then today, I started off great, and started birdie-birdie-birdie. Everything was going nicely.”

But then it all unravelled. “I made one bad swing,” he said, “and I thought to myself that you do hit bad shots in golf. I was behind a tree, and as I tried to chip out to try and save par, I hit a branch and was still stuck behind all the trees. So suddenly, there was a big number in play.

“It just escalated quickly from three-under to level-par in two holes. I had to regroup and stay calm and patient. But the swing wasn’t there today. I kept missing a bit right and that put me into some trouble today. But I knew the course was playing tough, and I knew I had a bit of a cushion when I teed off, so I just stayed calm and grafted for my pars.”

He turned in two-over-par 39, and then kept things steady with seven pars on his homeward nine, together with one birdie and one bogey – a much more stable showing than his yo-yo start.

“One of the big turning points was making a par on the par-four 15th,” he said. “I had about 190 yards in from a terrible like in the right rough after I blocked my tee-shot right. I knew I couldn’t reach the green and it was too risky going for the green. I took a seven-iron and laid up on the fairway and told myself to get the wedge close. It was make or break, and I hit it to a foot.”

It was Snyman’s second win of the season, with his first one coming at ERPM when he defeated Kyle McClatchie by two shots last November 16 on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour series.

“I’m excited about the win,” he said. “World ranking points are awesome. I’m very excited about that. It’s my second win as a professional, so that’s going to give me a nice confidence boost, especially before the Asian Tour starts up.”

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.

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