26th May 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Conradie matches Haig with IGT Tour triple

TWingate23-25MayDay3 (131)SHWANE, 25 May 2016 – A mere seven days after Anton Haig scored the IGT Tour’s first hat-trick this season, unheralded Gauteng North junior Estiaan Conradie matched Haig’s feat when he raced to a third victory on the country’s premier development Tour on Wednesday.

Conradie fired a seven-under-par 67 to win the Wingate Challenge at six under 210, finishing two strokes clear of first round leader Stephan Erasmus.

The 18-year-old upstart from Wingate Park not only matched Haig, but he went one better than the four-time international champion.

Haig claimed his maiden breakthrough in his sixth start at the ERPM Challenge in April and scored consecutive victories in the Houghton Challenge and Ruimsig Challenge to seal his hat-trick, but Conradie did it in just four starts.

His opening 75 at Wingate Park Country Club this week was a far cry from the first round 69 that set up a maiden win in February, or the 68 he fired at the Centurion Challenge in April that led to his second triumph.

A second round 70 lifted him to joint eighth, though, and the teenager started the final round six shots off the pace from fellow Pretoria amateur Teagan Moore.

He made a fast start with a trio of birdies, but three-putt four for a bogey at four and dropped another shot at seven after leaking his tee shot left into the trees.

“I got it back to one under after I boxed a 10-footer at the 10th and knocked in a three-footer for birdie at 13 to tie Stephan for the lead,” Conradie said. “I knew I could win it with two par fives coming up, but Stephan was playing behind me, so I knew I couldn’t afford any more mistakes.”

The Wanna Be A Champion player two-putted the par five 15th for birdie, but Erasmus responded with back-to-back gains at 14 and 15 to move two shots clear of Conradie.

“I hit my tee shot into the trees on the left at 17, but I managed to curl a chip shot around the trees and knocked it to 12 foot,” he said. “I made the putt and when Stephan dropped at 16, I had to go for the eagle at the last hole to put some pressure on him.

“I hit my drive left again but I got a hard bounce in the bunker and the ball bounced through. I hit a seven-iron into the green from 120 metres. I had a six-footer left feet and holed the eagle putt. Then I had to sit around and wait for Stephan to finish. The best I hoped for was a play-off, but he parred the last two holes for a 69 and the victory was mine.”

Last week, Conradie and older brother Ruan combined brilliantly to help Gauteng North win the annual Challenge Cup, but Conradie immediately taunted his sibling with his three IGT Tour wins as soon as the result was official.

“Ruan and I are really supportive of each other, but we are also very competitive,” Conradie said. “When one does well, it fires the other up. Last week Ruan was Gauteng North’s second most valuable player at the Challenge Cup and I had to hear all about it.

“He is ranked in the top 30 on the SAGA rankings and I’m around the 100 mark, but he is two years older so I am still catching up. We are both gunning for a maiden provincial win on the amateur circuit, but at least on the IGT Tour I have the upper-hand right now.”

Matthew Spacey mixed two birdies with a lone bogey for a 71 and a share of third with Moore, who signed for a 76.

Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Carrie Park returned an even-par 72 to secure her fourth top five finish in six starts with a 72. Park tied for fifth with amateur Ruan Korb, who closed with a 75.

Conradie’s playing partners, brother Ruan (73) and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia (72) tied for seventh with Duane Kean (74) and amateur Stefan Labuschagne, who fired a closing 67.

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