10th October 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Conradie takes pole at Copperleaf
(PHOTO – Estiaan Conradie; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 9 October 2017 – Breezy conditions made for difficult second round scoring at The Els Club Copperleaf on Tuesday, but Pretoria rookie Estiaan Conradie defied the odds to open up a two shot lead in the first Race to Q-School.
The Wingate Park golfer fired a flawless six under-par 66 to line up a fifth visit to the winner’s circle on the IGT Challenge Tour.
He was not alone in struggling in the wind – only 10 other players managed to break par – but he knows he is in a strong position heading into the last day. “It was a lot tougher getting to 10 under than the scored showed,” Conradie said.
“It was difficult today. Making par is good on days like this. It was a two to three club wind and that makes a big difference on this course. You’re hitting uphill and downhill on uneven lies, and this wind is so much more difficult to get near the pin.
“The putter definitely saved me. I made three great putts to save par and all five my birdie putts were inside 15 feet. I was just disappointed to not birdie all the par fives. But I’m leading and that’s better than being behind.”
The 19-year-old Wanna Be A Champion Academy player made his debut on the Big Easy Tour last week and said the gained a lot from the experience.
“Competing on the IGT Challenge Tour for the last 18 months prepared me really well for the Kings Cup,” said Conradie.
“I felt very comfortable being among some seasoned pros. I did expect to do better than a tie for 33rd but I had to scramble to last all three rounds. I struggled to come to grips with the greens at Royal Swazi and it was the first time in a long while that the short stick let me down. It was a really great experience and I am grateful I got the chance to test myself.”
Conradie believes he’ll have a fight on his hands to land his second pro title on Wednesday.
“Roberto Lupini is hot on my heels at 10 under,” he said. “He has won twice this season and also shot 66 today.
“My brother Ruan birdied three of the last four holes for a 68, so he is just three shots back now and tied for third with Pieter (Moolman). There are a few other guys that could also go low in the top 10, like Matt Bright and Jade Buitendag and you can’t discount Maritz (Wessels). He shot 73 today, but this is his home course, so he could turn it up in the final round.”
“The way I try to see it, whether I’m leading or not, it’s all about when the last putt drops. It really doesn’t matters now; it’s all about tomorrow.”