25th July 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Conradie leads the title charge at Wingate
(PHOTO – Ruan Conradie; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 25 July 2017 – Ruan Conradie shot a season-best 65 to take a four shot lead into the final day of the IGT Challenge Tour’s Wingate Challenge at his home course.
It’s less than a week since the Pretoria rookie broke through for his maiden professional title in the Services Challenge and the seven under par effort at Wingate Park Country Club on Tuesday paved the way for a fourth victory on the country’s premier development golf circuit.
The 21-year-old began the day one off the pace, but made an early move with an eagle at the par five second and birdie at the third to leapfrog Tristen Strydom for the lead. He added another birdie at nine and made four more after the turn to move to 13-under-par 131.
“Getting an eagle at the second hole put a smile on my face right at the beginning of my round,” said the Wanna Be A Champion Academy player. “I hit an eight iron in and it stopped four feet behind the hole and putting that putt away really set the tone for the round.
“I played pretty good out there. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and I tried to play smart on the par fives. If you can birdie those, you can easily shoot a low score. Both nines were solid, except for a soft bogey at 10.
“The front nine is slightly trickier than the back nine, so all you want to do after a four under front nine is to play shot for shot and not think about the score on the way home. I left some three to four foot birdie chances out there but gave myself a lot of birdie putts, too, and took advantage when the chance came my way.”
Strydom, chasing his fifth IGT Challenge Tour title, had five birdies and an eagle at the par five 15th on his card and was still in a buoyant mood, despite shooting 70.
“I had a double at the ninth and dropped a couple on the back nine, but I still played some solid golf,” he said. “No reason to feel glum; I live to fight another day.”
Maritz Wessels birdied 18 for 67 to finish in third on his own, three shots clear of Conradie’s brother Estiaan and fellow Pretoria golfers Ruan Korb and Paul Boshoff. The younger Conradie fired a 66, Korb shot 71 and Boshoff returned a 69.
Meanwhile Wingate Park Country Club golf course superintendent Pieter Cooper will have to take another day off after making the cut. The Gauteng North mid-amateur followed an opening 75 with a 71 to pull within two shots of his 19-year-old amateur son, JP Cooper, who carded successive rounds of 72 at his home course to tie for 14th at 144.