30th September 2013 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Du Plessis in threatening form at IGT Ruimsig
(Photo – CJ du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 30 September 2013 – Francois Coetzee stormed into the lead with a flawless four-under-par 68, but the Pretoria professional will have Polokwane’s CJ Du Plessis breathing down his neck in the second round of the IGT Tour Race to Q-School at Ruimsig Country Club on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Coetzee had a lone birdie at the par-three 11th on his way to the turn, but reeled in three birdies at the fourth, sixth and ninth holes to take the lead.
Meanwhile Du Plessis overcame a bumpy start with three birdies interrupted by a bogey and a double drop and reeled in three birdies on the home stretch for a three-under-par 69.
The Limpopo profesional is one shot off the pace and leads by one from amateur Andi Dill and professional Gideon Pienaar. Brendan de Lange, who won the second IGT Race to Q-School at Modderfontein earlier this month, shot a 71 to tie for fifth with amateur Calvin Caldeira, while fellow amateur Andrew Light from George is one shot back in joint seventh with professionals Pierre Viviers and Dongkwan Kim from Korea.
Du Plessis, who held the number two amateur ranking in South Africa before he joined the pro ranks this January, has been out of action for nearly three weeks due to a sinus infection.
The 22-year-old was thrilled to get going with a solid start.
“I haven’t touched a club for just over two weeks, and I just hit some balls this morning to try to get the rust off,” he said. “I was actually impressed with myself when I birdied the first and the fourth holes. Then I dropped three shots in two holes, so I knew I wasn’t quite there yet.
“The pins were really tricky, tucked in impossible spots. You couldn’t go for them, because you couldn’t stop the ball on the green. It’s one of the things I like about the IGT Tour; they always throw in one round with tough pins that meant to teach us to plan better and go for the rational shot, instead of going for the pin.”
Du Plessis said he felt fine and was happy with his back nine.
“I hit it a lot better and I could feel the rust coming off,” he said. “I’m looking forward to chasing Francois on Tuesday.”
The GFG Academy player has made five cuts in six starts in his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour, and said the IGT Tour keeps him competitive.
“You just can’t stay in tournament mode when you are missing the pre-qualifiers all the time,” Du Plessis said. “With only 10 spots up for grabs, it’s very tough to make the field. I’ve made money every time I’ve made the field, but I’ve also missed 13 qualifiers.
“You lose your edge and your game goes, so I started playing the IGT Tour. Here I compete every week and I stay sharp. And I earn the money to get to those Sunshine Tour’s qualifiers.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES
All competitors RSA unless otherwise indicated; amateurs = AMA
68 – Francois Coetzee
69 – CJ du Plessis
70 – Gideon Pienaar, Andi Dill AMA
71 – Calvin Caldeira AMA, Brendan De Lange
72 – Pierre Viviers, Dongkwan Kim KOR, Andrew Light AMA
73 – Maritz Wessels, Callum Mowat AMA, Otto van Greunen, Roberto Lupini, Nathan Waghorn
74 – Morne Buys, Wayne du Toit, Justin Levy, Morne Wolmarans AMA, Niel Meyer AMA, JC Ritchie
75 – Graeme Vrugtman AMA, James Searson, Conway Kunneke AMA, Jacques Kruyswijk, Johan de Beer, Byron Garvie, JC van Dommelen, Shaun van Tonder, Jacques de Villiers
76 – Lukas Steyn AMA, Fouche Botha AMA, Nabeel Umerji, Jaco Mouton, Tyron Mc Comb, Alwyn Vorster, Jonathan Waschefort, Daniel Hammond, Jerry Steyn, Lean Boezaart
77 – Mathew De Villiers AMA, Anton Haig, Micky Hough, Wayne Stroebel, Marinus Hamman
78 – Gareth Akers AMA, Raymond Mathonsi, Hano van der Walt, Jaco Prinsloo, Johan Theron, Rob Menzies, Tyrone Ryan, Rae Mackie, Mike Slabber, Kyle Lee, Arthur Horne
79 – Kerwin Marais, Ryan Clarke, Sean Burger, Zak Van Zyl AMA, Deon Bredenkamp, Terence Boardman, Eduard Van Den Berg AMA, Paul Van Zyl