18th February 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

McClean closes in on Tree at IGT Series Ruimsig

(Photo: John McClean; credit CJ du Plooy)Ruimsig17-19FebDay1 (77)

JOHANNESBURG, 18 February 2014 – Rourke van der Spuy will be lone South African in the last three-ball at the IGT Series Ruimsig event on Wednesday, but he is relishing the chance to play alongside pacesetter Toby Tree from England and second-placed John McClean from Northern Ireland.

Van der Spuy doubled up on 69s at Ruimsig Golf Club to finish on six-under-par 138 and lags three shots behind the English overnight leader, who tops the leaderboard at the 36-hole mark for a second successive week.

The English Elite Squad member picked up birdies at the second and ninth holes and dipped to four under with eagle at the par-four 13th, but gave back a shot at the par-three 17th to Van der Spuy’s 69.

The 19-year-old from Chichester leads the field at nine-under-par 135, but has just a slender one shot advantage on the experienced McClean, who cruised home with a flawless 65.

“Well, he is half my age, but he better know, I’m going to give it a jolly good shot,” said the 40-year-old journeyman who has lived in South Africa since the age of seven.

McClean, a former Sunshine Tour campaigner and an IGT Tour winner last year, picked up three birdies in his opening loop from the 10th hole and came down the front nine at Ruimsig in 32 strokes.

The Irishman hit his approach at the par-four first to two foot for birdie, and made two-putt birdie at the par-five fourth to go five under. “The putter was really on song and I sunk a 35-footer at the sixth for my sixth birdie of the day,” McClean explained. “At the ninth, I hit my tee shot in the rough, laid up for two and hit my third to 25 foot. I boxed the putt to finish with a nice 65.

“It’s been a while since I hit a low number and it feels great to be playing some quality golf again.”

McClean, whose company Wild Life Trophies also supplies the unique eagle statues for the IGT Tour champions, played on the Sunshine Tour for two years from 2011.

“I was disappointed to lose my card, especially after making the field for 2012 SA Open at Serengeti, but let’s face it, that’s golf,” he said. “I won my first IGT event at CMR in April last year, but then my season was interrupted when I was side-lined with a shoulder injury for 16 weeks.”

McClean was primed for the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in January, but ended up in hospital in Bloemfontein for a small procedure just before Q-School teed off.

“I actually came out of hospital an hour before I was due to tee off and ended up withdrawing after 12 holes,” he said. “You just have to pick yourself up and carry on. This is my third start since Q-School and I got the putter going really nicely. Hopefully I have the same touch tomorrow.”

Herman Minnie carded a 71 to finish fourth, while amateur Matthew Kiewitz fired a one-bogey 67 to earn a share of fifth alongside Duane Keun (68), Beyers Smith (69) and Jerry Steyn (67).

The 18-year-old Randpark amateur was thrilled to be in contention in only his second start on the country’s premier development tour.

“It was tough out there, because the pins were either tucked away, set behind bunkers or hazards or on slopes, so we really had to think our way around the course,” said Kiewitz.

“I’m really happy with my course management, because this was not a day for heroics. You couldn’t really attack the pins, so you had to play solid tee to green golf and create chances for yourself where you could.”

SECOND ROUND SCORES:

135 – Toby Tree ENG (AMA) 66 69

136 – John McClean NIR 71 65

138 – Rourke Van der Spuy 69 69

139 – Herman Minnie 68 71

140 – Duane Keun 72 68, Matthew Kiewitz (AMA) 73 67, Beyers Smith 71 69, Jerry Steyn 73 67

141 – Dylan de Beer 69 72

142 – JC van Dommelen 73 69, Tyron McComb 70 72, Brandon Taylor USA 70 72, Michael Dreyer 74 68, Niel Meyer (AMA) 73 69, Lean Boezaart 72 70, Otto van Greunen 72 70, Neil Cheetham ENG 70 72

143 – Brad Diffenthal 74 69, Calvin Caldeira (AMA) 71 72, Russel Franz (AMA) 67 76, Gian Scarola 74 69, Coert Groenewald 72 71, TJ Bekker 73 70, Ted Hendriks 71 72, Jonathan Waschefort 70 73

144 – Hano van der Walt 74 70, Jaco Mouton 74 70, Michael Armstrong (AMA) 71 73, Jason Diab (AMA) 70 74, Ryan Clarke 73 71, MJ Viljoen 73 71

145 – Wayne Stroebel 74 71, Jacques Prinsloo 74 71, Rob Menzies ENG 74 71, Clinton Grobler 72 73, Henry Featherstone ENG 70 75

146 – Hyun Park KOR 74 72, Thomas Lovett 71 75, Pierre Viviers 72 74, Kerwin Marais 73 73, Willie Steyn 73 73

147 – David Riddle 73 74, Nikki Jonker (AMA) 72 75

148 – Ruan van Blerk 76 72, Alwyn Vorster 72 76

149 – Ruwan Combrink 73 76, Jeandre Fourie 74 75, Pieter Kruger 78 71, Robert Herselman (AMA) 72 77, Vincent Schaffler (AMA) 72 77

150 – Dwayne Coetzee 78 72, Chris Haefele 74 76, David Lamprecht (AMA) 74 76, Lucas Steyn 73 77

Missed the cut:-

151 – Mike Quinn 77 74, Gustav Gouws (AMA) 74 77, Conway Kunneke 73 78

152 – Rudi Armstrong (AMA) 77 75, Byron Garvie 74 78, Hanbo Lee 76 76, Eugene van Loggerenberg 75 77

153 – Rae Mackie 75 78, Sam Botham 72 81, Peter Wilson ENG 73 80

154 – Jaryd Wagner 74 80

156 – Wayne du Toit 79 77, Rhoan Gardiner 78 78, Will Mathews 80 76

157 – Craig Dreyer 78 79

158 – Werner Lourens (AMA) 77 81, Pieter Van der Linde (AMA) 76 82

160 – Julian de Wet (AMA) 83 77, Laurence Duarte 80 80

161 – Mohammed Ismail (AMA) 82 79

163 – Zak Van Zyl 84 79

167 – Houston Harwood (AMA) 85 82

169 – Christiaan Pretorius 81 88, Elmar Van Der Berg (AMA) 84 85, Ruan Botha 83 86

172 – Kyle Bennett 83 89

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