23rd June 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Cool Kunneke takes Race to USA Modderfontein lead

Mdfnt23-25JuneDay1 (31)(Photo – Conway Kunneke; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 23 June 2014 – Pretoria golfer Conway Kunneke carded an opening four-under-par 68 at Modderfontein Golf Club to charge into a two shot lead at the IGT Tour’s sixth Race to the USA event on Monday.

The Irene professional obliterated three bogeys with seven birdies to edge clear of Hano vd Walt from The Golf School of Excellence and amateur Theodor Oosthuizen.

The 20-year-old cousin of 2010 Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen, was tied for the lead with five holes to play, but lost his grip on a share of the lead with a double bogey six at the par-four 15th.

The Bloemfontein amateur recovered well to finish with three successive pars for a share second.

Meanwhile two-time Race to the USA champion Huyn Park from Korea fired a one under 71 to finish within striking distance of the pacesetter.

The GFG Academy player shares fourth with young guns, Calvin Caldeira and Andy Dill, IGT Race to USA Irene winner, Michael Scholz, Werner van Niekerk, and fellow Korean DK Kim.

Kim battled through the front nine with three bogeys and a double but bounced back after the turn with an eagle and three birdies to join the bus at one under.

Sunshine Tour regular Francesci Cuturi led the women’s competition with an opening 73.

Kunneke racked up three top 20 finishes in the Race to the USA series and was happy to be in contention.

“I haven’t played the course for close to five years, but I felt really comfortable out there,” he said. “The greens are in great nick and a lot faster than I remembered.”

“My game plan over the last few weeks has just been to put myself into good positions and let the putts fall, and it seems to be paying off for me. I only had 29 putts out there and I birdied all the par-fives, which is always a huge bonus.”

Kunneke was not too concerned about the negative numbers on his card.

“Overall, I stuck to the game plan, played nicely tee to green,” he said.

“I short-sided myself with all three bogeys, going for the wrong side of the green, but that’s golf. You just have to keep grinding and convert for birdies and try to end up with more red numbers than blues.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

68 – Conway Kunneke

70 – Hano van der Walt, Theodor Oosthuizen (AMA)

71 – Calvin Caldeira (AMA), Hyun Park KOR, Andi Dill (AMA), DK Kim KOR, Werner Van Niekerk, Michael Scholz

72 – Terence Boardman, Jacques de Villiers, Coert Groenewald, Mike Downes ENG, Herman Minnie, Khaya Jika, Rhoan Gardiner, Otto van Greunen

73 – Francesca Cuturi, John McClean N-IRE, Ryan Clarke

74 – Tyrone Gibb (AMA), Shaun van Tonder, Tyron Mc Comb, Jerry Steyn, Russel Franz, Lean Boezaart

75 – Arno Bartholoma (AMA), Ted Hendriks, Jason Froneman (AMA), JC van Dommelen, Hendrikus Stoop (AMA), Antonio Rosado POR, Rob Menzies ENG, Justin Godfrey (AMA)

76 – Rae Mackie, Ludovic Bax MUS (AMA), Matthew Kiewitz (AMA), Pieter Van der Linde (AMA), Garth Wolter (AMA)

77 – Mike Maile, Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Tudor Bismark ZIM (AMA), Niel Meyer (AMA), Jacqui Akers (AMA), Hanbo Lee, Michael Jooste (AMA), Lucas Steyn, Ruwan Combrink, Jonathan Waschefort

78 – Willie Steyn, Ryan Kuhn (AMA), Slade Fick (AMA), Wayne Stroebel, David Lamprecht, Werner Van Wyk (AMA), Jason Diab (AMA)

79 – Mike Quinn, Julian de Wet (AMA), Loic Csizmadia MUS (AMA), Murray Smit, Duane Keun

80 – Daniel Joubert (AMA), Lloyd Herbst (AMA), Christopher Hardy MUS (AMA), Anton Steenkamp (AMA)

81 – Divan Marais (AMA), Byron Garvie, Gareth Akers (AMA), Zak Van Zyl, Kirsten Campbell (AMA)

82 – Michael Van Hoeck (AMA), Robert Herselman, John-Henry Hewitt (AMA)

83 – Christiaan Pretorius

84 – CJ Levey (AMA), Gustav Gouws (AMA), Ruan van Blerk NAM

87 – Brett Cocking (AMA)

88 – Benjamin Cobbett (AMA), James Garlinge (AMA)

92 – Phillip Calitz (AMA)

N/R – Duncan Neill (AMA)

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