12th May 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Cricket ace Vorster leads Race to USA ERMP

ERPM12-14MayDay1 (114)(PHOTO – Alwyn Vorster; credit CJ du Plooy)

BOKSBURG, 12 May 2014 – Former provincial cricketer Alwyn Vorster is hoping his usual attitude will steer him to a maiden victory on the IGT Tour after he grabbed the first round lead in the second Race to the USA event at ERPM Golf Club on Monday.

Thanks to a sizzling short game, the Johannesburg golfer set the target at four-under-par 68.

Vorster finished two shots clear of JC van Dommelen and Lean Boezaart and three ahead of Englishman Mike Downes, Justin Levy, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Shaun van Tonder and seasoned veteran Brett Liddle.

Korea’s Hyun Park, Wayne Stroebel and Herman Minnie are a further shot adrift.

Vorster, who represented Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Province until 2007, kept competitive at premier club level.

It wasn’t until after the 2012 Cricket South Africa’s National Club Championship, where he scored an unbeaten 104 runs for Glenvista and was named Player of the Tournament, that he swapped his bat and pads for a set of golf clubs.

For the last two years, though, Vorster has been cutting his pro golf teeth on the country’s premier development Tour, and loving it.

“These days, the only things I swing are my clubs and my daughter, Megan,” he said.

“It has been a great adventure, so far, because it really is a process. I’ve had a lot of firsts, and leading a tournament is another. It’s both overwhelming and exciting.”

Golf was actually the furthest thing from his mind in 2010 when Vorster was retrenched from his position in the forward freight industry.

“We were on a family holiday with my in-laws, talking about my future, when my father-in-law, Mark Philips, casually asked me why I didn’t have a go at a golf career.

“I was a pretty decent hacker, but he said he would support me if I wanted to take a shot at it.

“We both knew that this would be a lengthy process; you don’t become a great golfer just from watching the pros on SuperSport. And it has been a process.

“My father-in-law arranged sponsorship for me through his company, Industrial Projects Services, and I add to the pot from my little scrap metal business on the side.

“My father-in-law, my wife Carla, my own parents and friends have been incredibly supportive on this mad journey.  It’s a great feeling to be able to tell them I am finally leading my first event.”

Vorster burst from the blocks with back-to-back birdies, but a three-putt bogey at the par-four third reduced his advantage. He got it back to three under with a pair of birdies at the eighth and ninth and dipped to four under with another gain at 11.

“To be honest, I was really struggling off the tee and the swirling wind wasn’t helping,” he said.

“I didn’t hit many fairways, but my short game was in great shape. That helped me make a few birdies.”

At the par-three 12th, Vorster aimed his tee shot at the middle of the green, but the wind carried it off-line. He put a second blemish on his card when he failed to make the up-and-down.

“I backed myself with that up-and-down, so it felt great to make the birdie at the 16th from the greenside bunker after that drop,” he said.

“I hit a great trap shot and made the four-foot putt to get myself back to four under.”

Although leading his first event carries some pressure, Vorster means to stick to the basics.

“I’ll stick with the routine I have been working on with my coach, Hans Jonck from Centurion Country Club and I’ll try not to look further than the next shot.

“But you have to have your priorities right in life, so right now, I’m going home to play with my four-year-old, and then I want to head all about my wife’s day at the office.

“After all, some things are just as important as leading my first event.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

68 – Alwyn Vorster

70 – Lean Boezaart, JC van Dommelen

71 – Mike Downes ENG, Justin Levy, Brett Liddle, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Shaun van Tonder

72 – Hyun Park KOR, Wayne Stroebel, Herman Minnie

73 – Carlos Arroyo (AMA), Slade Fick (AMA), Ted Hendriks, Conway Kunneke, Keegan Steyn (AMA), Werner Van Niekerk, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA), Andi Dill (AMA), Rae Mackie, Johan Theron

74 – Arno Bartholoma (AMA), Russel Franz (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius, Stephan Erasmus (AMA)

75 – Mohit Mediratta KEN (AMA), Hanbo Lee, Hano van der Walt, Graham van den Berg (AMA), Christian Kayumba-Mbanga ZIM, Juran Dreyer (AMA)

76 – Antonio Rosado POR, Niel Meyer (AMA), Byron Garvie, Jacqui Akers (AMA), Tom Watson (AMA), Fouche Botha (AMA), Romano Saincic

77 – Terence Boardman, Nico Du Buisson (AMA), Jerry Steyn

78 – Brett Cocking (AMA), Jadrick Fourie (AMA), Gareth Akers (AMA), Lydon Charnely (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA), JP Schmidt (AMA)

79 – Arno Pretorius (AMA), Ruan van Blerk NAM, Russell Jaques ENG (AMA), Otto van Greunen, Jandre Fullard (AMA)

80 – Rhoan Gardiner, Stephan De Beer (AMA), Jongikyaya Jika

81 – Julian de Wet (AMA), Rob Menzies ENG, Stefan Malan

82 – Frans Strydom, Murray Smit

86 – Gerard van Zyl (AMA)

90 – Tristen De Graaf (AMA)

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