2nd February 2016 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Du Plessis turns up heat in Centurion Open

CenturionDay1 (68)(PHOTO – Hennie du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 2 February 2016 – Rising Limpopo star Hennie du Plessis took advantage of the sun-soaked conditions in Tshwane to close the gap on second round leader Andre de Decker in the IGT Tour’s Centurion Open on Tuesday.

Despite spoiling a nearly flawless card with a bogey at the par four fourth, 25-year-old De Decker from Westlake will chase a wire-to-wire maiden win after firing a second successive seven under 65 at Centurion Country Club to finish at 14 under 130.

Du Plessis, meanwhile, scorched the par-72 layout with a flawless nine-under-par 63 to surge within four shots of the overnight pacesetter.

The 19-year-old Sesambos golfer graduated the IGT Tour at the end of 2015 when he won the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in Bloemfontein. Having survived the gruelling rookie season, Du Plessis was anxious to start his second season with a bang, but he missed out at both qualifiers for the BWM SA Open and Joburg Open.

“Its last chance saloon time now,” Du Plessis said.

“I have to shoot a low number in Tuesday’s qualifier at Woodhill Country Club to make the field for the Tshwane Open. It’s the last co-sanctioned tournament with the European Tour. I will need to push very hard to get a spot in the starting line-up.”

Du Plessis cut his teeth on the IGT Tour when he left the pro-ranks in July 2014, but regularly returns to the country’s premier development Tour in off weeks to work on his game or to stay competitive.

“That’s why I teed it up here at Centurion this week,” he said.

“I’m striking the ball really well, but my putter has been a little streaky. I came to work on the putter this week and this round has given me a jolt of confidence.”

The GFG Academy player collected a trio of birdies at 12, 13 and 14 and added another brace of gains at 16 and 17 to go five under.

“There wasn’t really any fireworks in my round, except maybe for the awesome chip I holed at the second for birdie and the three straight birdies from seven for my 63,” he said.

“I definitely left a few out there, especially on the par fives. I missed birdie chances at 15 and one, but overall I couldn’t be happier. I hit my irons really well and left most of them close, inside six feet.

“But what I’m really happy about is the putting. I really hit the putter well and barely missed all day. That leaves me really confident for next week. I’m not thinking about a win tomorrow, but I really want to shoot another low round to make sure I’m pitch perfect for Woodhill.”

Last week’s Killarney Open champion, Louis de Jager, will start the final round five shots off the pace after a second 68, while 2015 Big Easy Championship winner Daniel Hammond is six behind De Decker after signing for a 69.

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