7th May 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Old dog Scholtz clinches first Race to USA

IreneMay5-6Day2 (110)(PHOTO – Michael Scholtz; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 6 May 2014 – There are those who would tell you he never left, but for anyone in doubt, forty-something Michael Scholz said “I’m back” in the only way he knows.

The renowned South African golfing personality and trick shot specialist proved there is life in the old dog yet, when he claimed the first IGT Race to the USA event at Irene Country Club on Tuesday.

Six shots off the pace at the start of the final round, the 43-year-old Scholz rocked to victory with a seven-under-par 65.

Scholz edged out Korea’s Huyn Park and joint overnight leader, Englishman Mike Downes, by one shot on a winning score of seven under 137.

Park (70) and Downes (72) finished one stroke clear of Hanno van der Walt and top amateur Zander Lombard, who both signed for 67s.

Meanwhile the winner swayed between amusement and delight.

“They say every dog gets its day and I guess today belonged to the old-timer,” he joked.

“It’s kind of ironic, because Dave Usendorff and I will be launching a new golf show for television called “Old Dogs”. It’s all about showing people how to do things properly, so I guess you could say I am proof positive of what you can achieve when you do things properly.

“I have to admit, I surprised the hell out of myself. I thought the youngsters had it in the bag. It was great having my caddie of 26 years, Jerry Lumkwana, on the bag to share in the excitement.”

Scholz began campaigning on the country’s premier development Tour after making a conscious decision about the state of his game early this year.

“I lost my Sunshine Tour card because I spent most of time on growing my trick shot business and not on the golf course,” he explained.

“That all changed when I based myself at The Els Club Copperleaf. I am seeing my coach, John Dixon, on a regular basis. The small changes we’ve worked on, like the way I address the ball, are starting to work.

“But in the meantime, I am surrounded by golf, with the result that I spend at least an hour a day chipping, putting, on the driving range or playing.”

Scholz wanted to work on his game in a competitive environment and decided to give the IGT Tour a go.

“I was really very surprised at the standard of this Tour,” he said.

“It’s a great platform for the young amateurs and pros to get used to competition under pressure, but it’s equally great for a veteran like myself to get back to form.”

The former Wilson Tour winner said the round came together just as he had hoped it would.

“It took me a lot of years to understand that the only real difference between great players and good players is that the great ones make the least mistakes,” he said.

“You have to eliminate the silly mistakes and limit the bogeys, and this was the kind of round I had. A bogey at the second, then six threes, a four at the par-five 10th and a two at the par-three 16th.

“I should have made a birdie at the last, but I missed a short putt. It happens, but it is easier to except when your scorecard is full of red numbers.

“Who knows, if I can string together a few more rounds like this, I might win the IGT Race to USA and get to ply my trade in the United States for a month….now, wouldn’t that be something.”

And maybe Scholz could give Lumkwana a break and take Usendorff along to carry the bag.

FINAL RESULT

137 – Michael Scholz 72 65

138 – Hyun Park KOR 68 70, Mike Downes ENG 66 72

139 – Zander Lombard (AM) 72 67, Hano van der Walt 72 67

140 – Niel Meyer (AM) 68 72

141 – Gareth Akers (AM) 66 75

142 – Ted Hendriks 67 75

143 – David Meyers (AM) 67 76, Wayne du Toit 70 73

144 – Jerry Steyn 74 70, JC van Dommelen 72 72, Johan Theron 71 73

145 – Romano Saincic 74 71, Coert Groenewald 73 72, Stephan De Beer (AM) 72 73, Carlos Arroyo (AM) 71 74

146 – Leon Scheepers (AM) 73 73, Russel Franz (AM) 73 73, Herman Minnie 72 74, Arno Pretorius (AM) 71 75

147 – Rob Menzies ENG 75 72, Slade Fick (AM) 71 76

148 – Alwyn Vorster 74 74, Keegan Steyn (AM) 76 72, Rae Mackie 75 73, Julian de Wet (AM) 77 71, Hennie Du Plessis (AM) 73 75

149 – Calvin Caldeira (AM) 75 74, David Rebelo (AM) 74 75, Lucas Steyn 75 74, Christiaan Pretorius 74 75

150 – Conway Kunneke 74 76, Anton Steenkamp (AM) 76 74, Alex Botha (AM) 72 78

151 – Francesca Cuturi 74 77, Ruwan Combrink 74 77, Christian Kayumba-Mbanga ZIM 77 74, Rhoan Gardiner 73 78, Antonio Rosado POR 72 79, Werner Ferreira (AM) 78 73, Matthew Adams (AM) 75 76

152 – Ruan Botha 74 78, Morne Wolmarans (AM) 75 77, Albert Visser (AM) 76 76, Nico Luther 73 79

153 – Byron Garvie 75 78, Cameron Nesmith (AM) 77 76, Stephan Erasmus (AM) 78 75

154 – Johan Smit (AM) 80 74, Christopher McGuire (AM) 77 77, Andrew Lamont (AM) 78 76

155 – Wesley Baptiste (AM) 78 77, Michael Van Hoeck (AM) 79 76

156 – Tudor Bismark (AM) 76 80, Ryan Wingrove (AM) 76 80, Pierre Viviers 77 79, David Lamprecht 82 74, Michael Armstrong (AM) 82 74

157 – Kevin Eden (AM) 78 79, Lydon Charnely (AM) 82 75

158 – Hayden Millar (AM) 77 81

160 – Ruan van Blerk NAM 84 76

161 – Fouche Botha (AM) 79 82, Shaun van Tonder 80 81, JP Schmidt (AM) 84 77

162 – Arno Bartholoma (AM) 79 83

163 – Werner Lourens (AM) 85 78, Stefan Malan 85 78

166 – Matthew Kiewitz (AM) 80 86

168 – Etzard Grimbeek (AM) 86 82

171 – James Garlinge (AM) 92 79

180 – Benjamin Cobbett (AM) 93 87

185 – James Benzien 97 88

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