4th June 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Franz Takes Two in IGT Race to USA

Krugersdorp2-4JuneDay3 (90)(Photo – Russel Franz; credit CJ du Plooy)

KRUGERSDORP, 5 June 2014 – Russel Franz celebrated back-to-back success in the IGT Tour’s Race to USA Series when he claimed a wire-to-wire victory at Krugersdorp Golf Club on Wednesday.

The lanky Pretoria amateur stretched a two shot lead with a final round four-under-par 68 to claim a four stroke victory on 13-under-par 203 and collect his second Eagle Trophy in as many weeks on the country’s premier development Tour.

One man’s joy is another’s sorrow, however, and for a second successive week fellow Pretoria golfer, Werner van Niekerk, was relegated to second after a closing 70.

Otto van Greunen vaulted to joint third on four under with a 67 to join Race to the USA ERPM winner, Hyun Park, after the Korean returned a 74.

Local amateur Darren de Smidt carded a 73 to tie for sixth on 214 with Portugal’s Antonio Rosado.

Rosado carded a 70 and looks to be regaining the form that carried him to the winner’s circle four times this season.

Franz picked up a birdie at the second and overcame a double bogey at the par-four third with birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh to turn in two under.

A pair of birdies and bogeys from Van Niekerk helped Franz to take a four shot lead down the back nine.

The 23-year-old Zwartkops golfer kept his advantage in tact with three birdies from the 10th after Van Niekerk birdied the 10th and eagled the par-five 12th.

Both players bogeyed the par-four 13th, and Van Niekerk narrowed the gap to three shots with a birdie at the 14th.

The deficit was down just two shot when Franz bogeyed the par-four 15th, but the HPC Academy golfer destroyed any chance of catching his former Gauteng North stable mate when he double bogeyed the 17th.

With spades of breathing space going down the last, Franz finished is style by matching Van Niekerk’s birdie putt at the last to seal back-to-back victories.

Franz’s was thrilled to learn that his second visit to the podium also lifted him to second in the Race to the USA rankings.

“I’m less than 520 points behind Huyn now, and that is exactly where I hoped to be after this week,” the GFG Academy player said.

“If I can pull together some solid rounds in the next three events, I will have a shot at winning the rankings and win the chance to play in four events in the United States.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for experience for an amateur like me, so I’m definitely going to gun for it.”

FINAL RESULT

203 – Russel Franz (AMA) 67 68 68

207 – Werner Van Niekerk 70 67 70

212 – Otto van Greunen 72 73 67, Hyun Park KOR 67 71 74

214 – Antonio Rosado POR 70 74 70, Darin De Smidt (AMA) 71 70 73

216 – Lean Boezaart 75 70 71

217 – Rae Mackie 72 71 74

218 – DK Kim KOR 75 68 75

219 – Andi Dill (AMA) 75 73 71, Jonathan Waschefort 77 70 72, Jerry Steyn 76 70 73, Michael Scholz 72 74 73

220 – Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 73 75 72, Hano van der Walt 73 70 77, Calvin Caldeira (AMA) 71 72 77

221 – Jason Diab (AMA) 70 77 74

222 – Coert Groenewald 72 75 75, Conway Kunneke 75 75 72, Christiaan Pretorius 73 70 79

223 – Leon Scheepers (AMA) 76 73 74, Gareth Akers (AMA) 71 75 77, Duane Keun 75 76 72, Herman Minnie 76 77 70

224 – James Searson 72 75 77, CJ Levey (AMA) 74 72 78, Hilton Hughes (AMA) 76 79 69

225 – Ian Ansett (AMA) 74 77 74

226 – Matthew Kiewitz (AMA) 74 78 74

227 – Mike Quinn 75 74 78, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 73 78 76, Wayne Stroebel 77 76 74

228 – Andre Pistorius 77 72 79, Mpho Mafishe 72 78 78

229 – Niel Meyer (AMA) 76 79 74

230 – Magda Kruger (AMA) 72 82 76

231 – Christian Kayumba-Mbanga ZIM 77 76 78, Anton Steenkamp (AMA) 75 79 77, Raymond Mathonsi SWZ 78 77 76

232 – Lucas Steyn 73 73 86

234 – Shaun van Tonder 77 75 82, Johan Theron 79 76 79, Arno Bartholoma (AMA) 80 75 79

236 – Pieter Van der Linde (AMA) 80 73 83

240 – Daniel Joubert (AMA) 73 81 86, Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 77 78 85

242 – Stephan De Beer (AMA) 77 78 87

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