5th October 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf
O’Riley chases Arnoldi in Race to Q-School
JOHANNESBURG, 5 October 2015 – Silver Lakes Golf Club player N.j. Arnoldi carded a five-under-par 67 to take the first round lead in the IGT Tour’s first Race to Q-School, presented by Wanna Be A Champion Academy, edging a shot clear of a resurgent Dean O’Riley at Ruimsig Country Club.
Arnoldi, who has a date with the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in December, notched five birdies and an eagle at the par-five ninth for one of his best rounds of the year to date.
“I played great today and it was nice to get off to a good start again,” said the Wanna Be A Champion Academy player, who is hunting a second victory on the country’s premier development Tour after an amateur breakthrough in the IGT Winter Challenge two years ago.
“I’ve had some good starts the last couple of weeks. I knew my golf was good coming into the week and I was really happy with the way I followed that up.
“It was very, very solid and that’s the way I like to play, hitting a lot of fairways and greens and seeing some putts drop.”
O’Riley is also heading to Bloemfontein, where he hopes to regain the card he lost in 2014.
The Benoni Country Club player turned professional in 2011 on the back of a highly successful amateur career, but injury derailed his run in the paid ranks three years later.
“I tore the ligaments in my left knee early in 2014,” O’Riley said.
“I was out of the game for ninth months and I applied for medical exemption, but the Sunshine Tour declined my application. My doctor had immigrated to Australia and we couldn’t track her down, so I asked her partner to provide me with the necessary documentation.
“The Sunshine Tour wouldn’t accept it. I felt hard done by, but I’ve resigned myself and I am going to try and get back via Q-School.”
Dean O’Riley took a lot of positives out of his first competitive round in six months.
“I had no idea what to expect because I haven’t competed in so long, but I was striking the ball beautifully,” he said.
“I hit 12 out of 14 fairways and made some long putts, which is always good for the confidence. My main goal is just to get some decent scores in the next few tournaments. It’s important to shoot sub-par rounds if Q-School is the end goal.
“I’m not thinking about victories, yet, but hopefully I can win one of the Race to Q-School tournaments.”
Meanwhile Ruan Korb and Clinton Grobler both strengthen their title bids with aces the par-three 11th.
Korb tied for seventh on two under 70, while Grobler reduce some of the damage of two double bogeys and two drops for an opening 74.
FIRST ROUND SCORES – top 10
67 – NJ Arnoldi
68 – Dean O’Riley, Pieter Kruger
69 – John McClean NIR, Jason Diab, Joubert van Eeden
70 – Bryn Flanagan, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Simon Kruger, Christiaan Pretorius, TJ Bekker, Jonathan Waschefort, Ruan Korb (ama)