23rd January 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Mowat and Pienaar lead IGT K-100 challenge at Q-School

PHOTO: Callum Mowat; credit CJ du Plooy.CallumMowat_WingateCrop1

BLOEMFONTEIN (23 January 2014) – A solid 67 on day three of the Qualifying School vaulted Callum Mowat to a tie for third and, with two rounds to play, the door is certainly ajar for the IGT Tour Race to Q-School champion to secure a card for the 2014 Sunshine Tour.

But, with the stakes raised with a R100,000 sponsorship for the leading IGT Tour player on offer and just two rounds left to secure his card in golf’s most gruelling test, Mowat will feel the pressure.

The 21-year-old is bound to come under fire from IGT Tour winner Gideon Pienaar, who carded a 71 to join the Modderfontein golfer at nine-under-par 209.

The pair lag four shots behind 54-hole leader Rhys West, but have just a slender one shot cushion over 2013 Order of Merit winner Robbie Lupini and Jacques de Villiers.

Lupini, a three-time winner last season, carded a third round 70 at Bloemfontein Golf Club, while De Villiers, who finished 17th on the final money list, matched Mowat’s 67 to vault to six under 210.

Korea’s DK Kim, who took 15th overall in 2013, threatens at four under while Ryan Clark and TJ Bekker, tied at three under, cannot be discounted.

Mowat came into the Qualifying School on the back of a victory and six top five finishes in the Race to Q-School series last year and top five finishes in the two IGT Tour Warm-Up events earlier this month.

The Modderfontein golfer chooses a philosophical approach ahead of the last two rounds.

“We have one more round to play on Friday before the cut is made to 60 and ties and the survivors battle it out on Saturday for 30 cards,” Mowat said.

“I worked really hard to get to this position, to get consistency and to give myself a shot at securing a card. I also want that R100,000 from the IGT Tour, because it will go a long way to ease the financial pressure on my parents over my first 10 months on Tour.

“But the thing is, I can’t do anything about how Gideon players, or Robbie, Jacques or DK or any of the other guys. Even Pieter Kruger at one under could still upset the applecart if he goes low in the next two rounds.

“The only thing I can control is my own game. It will come down to how I play Schoemans Park on Friday and Bloemfontein on Saturday, not them. If I am the guy in the lead, great, but I can’t think about that just yet. I just have to give myself every chance to be that guy, and that means taking the next two days shot-for-shot, and hole-by-hole.”

IGT Pro Challenge Tour commissioner Cois du Plooy explained that the IGT Tour covered the R6,000 entry fee of the top 12 players at the end of the Race to Q-School series.

“We extended our development initiative to sponsor the leading player at Q-School a R100,000 sponsorship, payable over 10 months. In the event of a tie, the sponsorship will go to the leading player on the 2013 IGT Tour Order of Merit.

“We decided to do this to give the top player every opportunity to travel to the pre-qualifiers to have a real chance at competing in 2014.”

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