4th July 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Dlamini drives into position at Killarney Challenge

(PHOTO – Nobuhle Dlamini; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 4 July 2017 – She might be the only rose among the thorns on the IGT Challenge Tour this week, but Nobuhle Dlamini sure made her presence felt in the Killarney Challenge as she charged into contention on day two at Killarney Country Club.

Callum Mowat shot to the top of the leaderboard on Tuesday with a four-under-par 66, but Dlamini used her power drives to fire a blistering 64 that featured four birdies and two eagles.

The effort propelled the Swazi golfer to a tie for second with Pretoria amateur Arno Pretorius at five under 135. The pair will start the final round trailing Mowat by just one shot.

“It’s a good score, but I felt like it could have been lower,” said the Gary Player Class of 2017 player. “I fired on all cylinders and it’s good to be in contention again. Length does come into it, especially on the par fives around this course, but you have to position yourself to score and I did that well. The putter also came to the party, and that always helps.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner began the second round four off the pace after opening with a 71, but she made quick work of the deficit with birdies at the third and fourth holes and the first of her two eagles at the par five fifth.

“I hit a big drive at the fifth and had 178 metres left to the pin,” said Dlamini. “The green was downhill and downwind, so I took a six-iron. The ball bounced four metres short of the green and rolled five metres past the pin. I had a tricky downhill putt, but I knocked it in.

“I practice at Killarney often with my coach, Warrick Druian, so I know what’s required to score here, so I had a target in mind. I let two shots slip at the eighth and the 13th, because I got over-cautions, but after the second bogey, I went back on the attack. I had some good nervous energy and I used it to birdie 14 to get back on track.”

She backed up the birdie with an eagle at the par five 15th and a birdie at the final hole.

“I hit another great drive at 15 and a seven-iron pin high right and hold a real slider from eight feet for the second eagle,” Dlamini said. “Nice to finish with a birdie to put myself right up there with Callum.

“I’ll be heading back to the United States in a few weeks to play the Symetra Tour. I’m going to play the next couple of IGT Challenge Tour events to get really sharp, because it was tough coping on my first trip to the USA earlier this year.

“It was all so new, but I’ll be better prepared this time. The competition is really tough and most of the courses are ball-strikers courses, but the weather is nice. The things I found the toughest was finding my way around, locating caddies, accommodation, caddies, playing partners for the practice rounds and even where to do your laundry. I just want to make the most of the next few weeks and leave with some confidence.”

Mowat, who graduated the IGT Challenge Tour in 2013, had a clean card bar for a bogey at the par fourth 12th, while Pretorius mixed two bogeys with a pair of birdies on the front nine and three more gains on the back nine for a 67.

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