20th October 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Flawless Flanagan flies in Race to Q-School

Houghton20-22OctDay1 (248)(PHOTO – Bryn Flanagan; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 20 October 2015 – Bryn Flanagan edged ahead of three-time IGT Tour winner Michael Palmer and NJ Arnoldi with a superb run at Houghton Golf Club on Tuesday to take the first round lead in third Race to Q-School, presented by RAW Academy.

The big-hitting Flanagan had a string of three birdies from the fourth and reeled in more gains at eight, 10 and 15 for six-under-par 66 and a one stroke lead.

Arnoldi mixed eight birdies with three bogeys, while Palmer enjoyed a feast of five birdies on the back nine for his 67.

Louis Taylor, winner of the BDGA Academy Classic last month, lags three off the pace.

Flanagan is still chasing a victory on the country’s premier development Tour this season and gaining this kind of form before the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School has left him very positive.

“I have a card for next year after my fifth place finish on the Big Easy Tour Order of Merit, but I am heading to Q-School to improve my ranking,” said the 24-year-old.

“This is the time of the year when you want to play your game into peak form and this round has be in a great frame of mind. I’ve worked really hard on my game and I had a great day with all my clubs out there. You need five great rounds at Q-School, and the Race to Q-School gets you into that form.”

Flanagan owns the reputation as a great ball-striker on the IGT Tour, but says the short stick is his Achilles Heel.

“If you look at any statistics of my bad rounds this year, it’s all down to bad putting,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve put a lot of work into the putter in the last couple of weeks. It was really satisfying to come off the course with a clean card.

“I hit it stiff most of the day and I think my longest birdie putt was around 15 feet. Just goes to show – when you keep those irritating little three-putts off your card, you can go low.”

Only 11 players managed to come home under and Flanagan was not in the least surprised.

“The course set-up was typical of the Race to Q-School series, because these events are geared at getting us ready for the Qualifying School,” he said.

“Cois (du Plooy / commissioner) played us off the back tips at most of the holes and a lot of the pins were tucked. It’s really important at this stage of the game to make the course tough to challenge us.

“It prepares you mentally and physically for the grind of Q-School, but it’s also a measuring stick for the young amateurs. If you can’t hack it in the Race to Q-School series, there is no point in going to Bloemfontein in December.”

With the South African Women’s Open at the end of November and the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School looming, several of the country’s female professionals joined the field at Houghton.

Alana van Greuning opened with a 76 to finish one stroke clear of Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini and Francesca Cuturi, while LET rookie Melissa Eaton finished a further stroke adrift.

FIRST ROUND SCORES

All players RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as (ama).

66 – Bryn Flanagan

67 – NJ Arnoldi, Michael Palmer

69 – Louis Taylor (ama)

70 – Bartjie de Klerk (ama), Peter Wilson ENG, Justin Levy NLD

71 – Ryan Ciapparelli, Jeff Hopkins (ama) IRE, David McIntyre (ama), Christiaan Pretorius

72 – Damian Naicker, CJ Levey (ama), Brendan Britten NAM, Paul de Beer, Michael Armstrong (ama), Matthew Adams (ama), Herman Minnie, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Bryce McCabe

73 – Shaun van Tonder, Jason Diab, David Ashley ENG, Romano Saincic, Matthew Kent, Siphiwe Siphayi, Gerard du Plooy

74 – Matt Bright (ama), Chris van Tonder (ama), Andrew Carlsson (ama), Hein Dreyer (ama), Mikhail Tewary, Joubert van Eeden, Andi Dill (ama), Dean O’Riley, Dylan O’Leary

75 – Liam Clinton (ama), Vico Kuhn, Jandre Fullard (ama), Stephan Erasmus (ama), Gareth Akers, Conway Kunneke

76 – Altaaf Bux, Phillip Montgomery, Amerigo Renieri (ama), Neal Herman (ama), Danie Pretorius, Sean Olfsen (ama), Alana van Greuning, Derryn Mitri (ama)

77 – Francesca Cuturi, Quintin Crause (ama), Tom Watson (ama), Nobuhle Dlamini SWA, Armandt Scholtz (ama), Ricki Dembo (ama)

78 – Melissa Eaton, Norman Beggs

79 – Wayne Stroebel, JP Schmidt (ama), Hilton Hughes (ama), David Lamprecht, Carlos Arroyo (ama), Garth Mohamed, Jacques Ungerer

80 – Mohammed Ismail (ama), Dwayne Coetzee, Graham van der Merwe, Dylan Docherty, Etzard Grimbeek (ama)

81 – Byron Garvie, Keegan Steyn (ama), Matthew Vogel, Marais Visagie

82 – Ricardo Towell, Morne Wolmarans (ama)

83 – Coert Cronje (ama), Nico Du Buisson (ama), Vincent Mienie (ama), Gavin Miles (ama), Angelo Marques (ama)

84 – Ramon Rigney

85 – Tumie Motale

86 – Cole Dodgen (ama)

87 – Duan Nagel (ama), Jonty B Shelton (ama)

89 – Ryan Kuhn (ama), Shingi Shumba ZIM

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