10th December 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Groenewald seizes IGT Race Q-School series

Wingate8-10DecDay3 (144)(PHOTO – Coert Groenewald; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 10 December 2014 – Coert Groenewald held off a charging Rosswell Sinclair to claim a two stroke victory in the final IGT Tour Race to Q-School at Wingate Park Country Club on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Roodepoort professional carried a three stroke lead into the final round and closed with a three under 69 to triumph on 12-under-par 204.

His sixth victory on the country’s premier development Tour also lifted Groenewald to the number one spot in the Race to Q-School Series Order of Merit, giving the young gun a double reason for celebration.

“In all five of my previous wins, I got given a massive cheque that would barely fit in the boot of my car,” Groenewald joked. “I’ve been trying to get my hands of one of the eagle trophies all season, but I’ll take two leopards over an eagle any day.”

Sinclair signed off with a 70 to finish four shots back in a tie for second with Calvin Caldeira, who carded a four-under-par 68.

South Africa’s number two ranked amateur, Tristen Strydom, scorched the course in 63 strokes to tie for fourth alongside Portugal’s Antonio Rosado, who registered a 70.

The final round quickly turned into a two-horse race after Groenewald and Sinclair both burst from the blocks with three successive birdies. When Groenewald hit a tree with his tee-shot at the par-three fifth, the 17-year-old Pretoria amateur responded with a birdie to close the gap.

“The first eight holes were incredibly tight,” the overnight leader said.

“Ross was on my back from the get-go. He dropped a shot at the seventh, but birdied the next hole and it wasn’t until I drove the green at the ninth and made birdie that I felt I had some breathing space.”

Sinclair had back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13, while Groenewald hit a great approach into the par-five 13th to set up his fifth birdie of the day.

“I wasn’t putting as well as the first two rounds, but I was pretty solid off the tees and I kept it in play to make some made pars down the back nine,” he said.

“I dropped another shot at the 17th, but I just kept grinding until I could seal the win at the 18th.”

Groenewald’s sixth victory was particularly satisfying at the tail end of a solid season.

He had seven top 10 finishes, tied for third three times and had two runner-up finishes. He performed especially well in the Race to Q-School series with a tie for second at Krugersdorp, seventh at Wanderers and fourth at Centurion last week.

“It was frustrating, but I knew I had to be patient,” he said. “That’s what I’ve learned in my two seasons on the IGT Tour since I turned pro. If you put the work in, the pay-off will come, but sometimes it takes a lot longer than you think.

“I’m really happy to show Dolberg Spencer that their sponsorship is worth it. I’m far more prepared and confident going to Qualifying School this time around. Now I just need to nail that card down and start the next step in the process.”

Reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Carrie Park was the highest ranked women in the final standings. The SA number one ranked amateur carded rounds of 76, 72 and 76 to tie for 29th on eight over 224.

Meanwhile Wingate Park greenkeeper Pieter Cooper’s side-bet with his son JP ended in a dead-lock.

Cooper Snr had a nice six shot lead after an opening 70, but back-to-back 78s saw him tie 17-year-old JP, who returned rounds of 76, 75 and 75.

“It was quite nerve-wracking for me, but JP enjoyed himself immensely, although he admitted that he also felt the pressure,” said Cooper Snr.

“It’s one thing to prepare the course for the boys, but a whole different ball game to tee it up with them. It’s very competitive, but we both learned a lot from this experience.”

FINAL RESULT

204 – Coert Groenewald 69 66 69

208 – Calvin Caldeira 72 68 68, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA) 69 69 70

210 – Tristen Strydom (AMA) 75 72 63, Antonio Rosado POR 71 69 70

211 – Phillip Kruse (AMA) 73 73 65, Rae Mackie 70 69 72

213 – Jacquin Hess 73 72 68

214 – Breyten Meyer (AMA) 67 74 73

216 – Joubert van Eeden (AMA) 75 73 68, Herman Minnie 73 76 67, Jerry Steyn 74 71 71

217 – Niel Meyer 73 75 69, Russel Franz 68 79 70

218 – Werner van Niekerk 75 72 71, Aubrey Barnard 73 74 71, Andi Dill (AMA) 73 73 72

219 – DK Kim KOR 77 70 72

220 – Pieter Kruger 73 72 75, Khaya Jika 75 70 75, Stef Visage 71 73 76

221 – Andre de Decker (AMA) 78 73 70

222 – Jaco Mouton 75 73 74, Zak van Zyl 74 75 73, Glen de Waal NAM 74 73 75, Dwayne Coetzee 73 73 76, Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA) 73 72 77

223 – Justin Brink 72 69 82

224 – Carrie Park (AMA) 76 72 76, Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 76 74 74, Ruan Conradie (AMA) 76 75 73, Otto van Greunen 75 77 72

225 – NJ Arnoldi (AMA) 74 75 76, Burger Heckroodt (AMA) 73 78 74, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA) 73 80 72

226 – Pieter Cooper (AMA) 70 78 78, Dylan Docherty (AMA) 77 74 75, Stefan Labuschagne 72 79 75, JP Cooper (AMA) 76 75 75

227 – Johan de Beer 80 75 72

228 – Duane Keun 77 71 80, Jandre Fullard (AMA) 72 77 79, Michael Armstrong (AMA) 72 79 77, Shaun van Tonder 74 78 76

229 – Jacqui Akers (AMA) 76 76 77, Jacques de Villiers 77 78 74

231 – Marco De Beer (AMA) 77 75 79, Christiaan Van Der Merwe (AMA) 72 83 76

232 – Jason Diab (AMA) 76 77 79, Jonathan Raphunga 74 80 78, Armandt Scholtz (AMA) 75 80 77

236 – Jadrick Fourie (AMA) 78 75 83

WDN – Simon Kruger (AMA) 77 77 WDN

 

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