11th February 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Franz gives chase at Centurion

Cent10-12FebDay1 (189)(Photo – Russel Franz; credit CJ du Plooy)

PRETORIA, 11 February 2015 – Rookie Russel Franz cares just a little about Sunshine Tour regulars Anthony Michael and Ockie Strydom, who share pole positon at the 36-hole mark in the season-opening event on the IGT Tour’s Summer Swing at Centurion Country Club.
The IGT Tour graduate knows he has one shot in the Dimension Data Pro-Am qualifier next Tuesday to book a spot in the field for the R4.5-million championship at Fancourt and getting primed for the battle at the Montagu course is his top priority right now.
Strydom carded a 67, while Michael claimed a share of the lead with an equally impressive 65 on Wednesday.
Fellow Sunshine Tour player CJ du Plessis produced a blemish-free 64 to vault to joint third on 132 with GFG Academy stable mate, amateur David Ashley, who opened with a 64 and continued to impress with a second round 68.
Franz reeled in five birdies and two eagles in a flawless performance and his blistering nine-under-par 63 gave the lanky Pretoria golfer’s confidence a healthy boost.
Franz, who also plays out of the GFG Academy, lags just two strokes off the pace and shares fifth with former Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year, Allan Versfeld, who returned a 66.
Franz got underway with a birdie-par-birdie start and turned four under after an eagle at the par-five fifth. He dipped to six-under with eagle number two at the par-five 12th and reeled in birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th to claim the low round honours.
“It was great to come through that battle in Bloemfontein with a Sunshine Tour card in my pocket, but the real work starts in the qualifier next week,” said Franz.
“You only start earning when you make the cut. The first step is to get myself into the tournament. I prepared well on the IGT Tour and felt confident going to Q-School, and a solid finish this week will lay a confident foundation for next week.
“The field is full of Sunshine Tour regulars and playing with them gives you that added incentive to perform. I just want to put together another solid score in the final round and carry that confidence to George next week.”
Franz is one of four IGT Tour graduates in the top 24 who will take their newly-minted cards to the qualifier, but Lion of Africa Cape Town Open champion Jaco Ahlers, three-time Sunshine Tour winner Louis de Jager are also among the top contenders at Centurion who are shaking off the rust ahead of the challenge in George.
“We have a large contingent of Sunshine Tour players in the field this week who are preparing for the Dimension Data Pro-Am,” said IGT Tour commission Cois du Plooy.
“Playing with the pros has definitely fired up the players. There are nine regular Sunshine Tour players in the top 20, but we have four graduates in the top 24 – Russel, Zander Lombard, Coert Groenewald and Patrick Newcombe from the United States – and nine of our regular IGT Tour players who share the top 20.
“It’s really great to give our players this kind of platform to develop their skills. It not only gives them something to aspire to, but they learn from the seasoned players, especially in terms of course management and planning.”

SECOND ROUND RESULTS
131 – Anthony Michael 66 65, Ockert Strydom 64 67
132 – David Ashley (AMA) 64 68, CJ du Plessis 68 64
133 – Russel Franz 70 63, Allan Versfeld 67 66
134 – Jaco Ahlers 66 68, Steven Ferreira 66 68, Jacques Kruyswijk 68 66
135 – Zander Lombard 66 69, Michael Palmer 67 68, Brett Liddle 69 66, Coert Groenewald 68 67
136 – Louis de Jager 67 69, Juan Swart 70 66, TJ Bekker 70 66
137 – Patrick Newcomb USA 68 69, Justin Levy NED 68 69, Conway Kunneke 67 70, JC Ritchie 70 67, Divan van den Heever 66 71, Christiaan Pretorius 68 69, Bryn Flanagan 72 65
138 – Phillip Kruse (AMA) 72 66, Dayne Moore ZAM 71 67, Herman Minnie 72 66, Eddie Taylor 73 65
139 – Eric Nel (AMA) 71 68, Lean Boezaart 68 71
140 – Adrian Ford 70 70, Simon Kruger (AMA) 70 70, Jacques de Villiers 73 67, Tertius van den Berg 69 71
141 – Mike Downes ENG 72 69, Tyron Roelofsz 69 72, Otto van Greunen 73 68, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 74 67, Tyrone Ryan 71 70, Hilton Hughes (AMA) 69 72, Albert Venter (AMA) 75 66, Glen de Waal NAM 69 72
142 – Christopher van der Merwe (AMA) 72 70, Hennie Du Plessis 66 76, Jacques Blaauw 70 72, CJ Levey (AMA) 71 71, Louis Taylor (AMA) 74 68, Reynhard Reynecke (AMA) 69 73
143 – Mark Fraser 70 73, Toto Thimba Jnr 79 64, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA) 70 73, Tiaan Diederiks 72 71, Edoardo Torrieri ITA 72 71, Bartjie De Klerk (AMA) 71 72, Henry Featherstone ENG 74 69, Neil Cheetham ENG 71 72, Thanda Mavundla 72 71
144 – Ryan Tipping 74 70
145 – Louis Calitz 74 71, Ruan Huysamen NAM 72 73, Carlos Arroyo (AMA) 73 72, Chris Erasmus 76 69, Peter Wilson ENG 75 70, Cameron Nesmith (AMA) 71 74, Stephan De Beer 73 72
146 – Gideon Pienaar 71 75, Francois Coetzee 73 73, Jaco Prinsloo 76 70, Teboho Sefatsa 77 69

Missed the cut:-
147 – Michael Kok (AMA) 72 75
148 – Jason Ackerman (AMA) 77 71, Niel Meyer 75 73, Tung- nan Lin TWN (AMA) 75 73, Kyle Beattie (AMA) 76 72, Matthew Adams (AMA) 74 74, NJ Arnoldi (AMA) 75 73, Dylan O’Leary 73 75
149 – Kyle Jervis (AMA) 73 76, Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 73 76
150 – Tyron Mc Comb 78 72, Dougie Meijer 77 73, Rhoan Gardiner 75 75, Arno Bartholoma GER 70 80, Lourens Du Plessis 76 74
151 – Rikus Oosthuizen (AMA) 78 73, Pedro August 78 73, Peetie van der Merwe (AMA) 74 77
152 – Michael Jooste (AMA) 80 72, Theo Sherman (AMA) 79 73, Matthew Vogel 78 74, Murray Smit 76 76
153 – Michael Petersen (AMA) 79 74
154 – Jandre Fullard (AMA) 78 76, Coert Cronje (AMA) 76 78
155 – Keanan Aysen (AMA) 79 76
156 – PG Van der Linde 79 77, Brandon Lydon (AMA) 80 76, Ramon Rigney 77 79, Duan Nagel (AMA) 75 81, Derryn Mitri (AMA) 76 80, Waldi Potgieter (AMA) 77 79
157 – Rudolph van de Venter 77 80, Dwayne Coetzee 78 79

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