23rd February 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Palmer leads Jeandre Fourie Classic at Ruimsig

Ruimsig23-25FebDay1 (136)(PHOTO – Michael Palmer; credit CJ du Plooy)

ROODEPOORT, 23 February 2015 – Oklahoma City University graduate Michael Palmer opened up a two stroke lead in the first round of the Jeandre Fourie Classic with a birdie fest down the closing holes at Ruimsig Country Club on Monday.

The third event in the IGT Tour’s Summer Swing has been dedicated to Fourie, an IGT Tour regular since 2010, who fractured his C6 vertebrae in a zip-line accident on the weekend.

Fourie was transported to the Trauma Unit at Millpark Hospital and set to undergo surgery to save his spine on Tuesday.

“I don’t know Jeandre since I only returned to South Africa recently, but I heard a lot of guys talking about him at the course,” said Palmer, who rallied with a quartet of birdies over the final holes to set the target at six-under-par 66.

“The regular players were really shook up about what happened to him. Like so many of us out on Tour, Jeandre doesn’t have any medical aid and the family needs to raise R500,000 for the operation. I think it’s really commendable that the IGT Tour have dedicated the tournament to him to help the family raise funds for the operation.”

Palmer returned to South Africa in December last year after a six year stint in the United States.

The Bryanston professional graduated with a degree in Business Finance, but stayed at extra year to add a degree in Economics to his impressive bio.

After working for an oil and gas conglomerate in Oklahoma for a further 18 months, the South African returned home to focus on his golf career.

The 25-year-old announced his presence with a tie for 12th in the IGT Tour’s Q-School Prep event at Centurion Country Club in January and sealed a Big Easy card in the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School later that month.

A flawless front nine carried him to the turn at Ruimsig in three under par, and Palmer stayed bogey-free until the 14th hole, where a poor lie in the left rough finished in the drink and cost him a stroke at the par-five.

Palmer rallied with four birdies on the trot to put some space between himself and amateur Simon Kruger, who finished a further two strokes back.

Amateur David Ashley, who claimed his maiden IGT Tour title at ERPM last week, threatens at three under alongside professional Duane Keun.

Palmer hit it to 10 feet at the 15th and holed the putt and left it six feet beneath the hole at the 16th to set up another birdie.

“I hit it to the middle of the green at the 17th and I was left with a very tricky, sliding putt that broke over a meter, but I made that one too,” said Palmer.

“I was on the green for two at the 18th, but I was 20 feet behind the pin. The putt from there is very quick and slippery, so I just lagged it close and boxed the birdie putt.”

Palmer is aiming for the European Tour and hopes to eventually wind his way to the PGA Tour.

“It all is a process, though,” he said. “You have to grind your way to through the stages.

“I am going to the play the IGT Tour this year and use my Big Easy Tour starts and hopefully I can build up enough competitive experience to give myself a chance at the European Tour Qualifying School. I’m only at stage one, so we will see how it goes.”

NOTE: Donations for Jeandre Fourie can be made to the IGT Tour:

IGTGolf

First National Bank / Cheque Account

Account Number: 62298177893 / Branch code: 251141

Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

FIRST ROUND SCORES (amateurs indicated as AMA)

66 – Michael Palmer (RSA)

68 – Simon Kruger AMA (RSA)

69 – David Ashley AMA (RSA), Duane Keun (RSA)

70 – Naithen Moore (RSA), Bryn Flanagan (RSA)

71 – Danie Pretorius (RSA), Gareth Akers AMA (RSA), CJ Levey AMA (RSA)

72 – Conway Kunneke (RSA), Matthew Kiewitz AMA (RSA), Hanbo Lee (RSA), Niel Meyer (RSA), Wayne Stroebel (RSA)

73 – Carlos Arroyo AMA (RSA)

74 – Daniel Joubert AMA (RSA), Gideon Pienaar (RSA), Arno Bartholoma (GER), Cliff Howes (RSA)

75 – Lourens Du Plessis (RSA), Brad Diffenthal (RSA), Stephan Erasmus AMA (RSA), Pedro August (RSA), Tung- nan Lin AMA (TWN), Dylan O’Leary (RSA), Phillip Kruse AMA (RSA), Pierre Viviers (RSA), Herman Minnie (RSA), Christiaan Pretorius (RSA), Christopher Van der Merwe AMA (RSA), Siphiwe Siphayi AMA (RSA)

76 – Matthew Adams AMA (RSA), Alastair Partridge AMA (RSA), Jason Diab (RSA), Joubert Van Eeden AMA (RSA), Dwayne Coetzee (RSA), TJ Bekker (RSA)

77 – Ryan Wingrove AMA (RSA), Craig Dreyer (RSA), Marc Van Deventer AMA (RSA), Jason Ackerman AMA (RSA)

78 – Matthew Vogel (RSA), Paul Cuningham (RSA), PG Van der Linde (RSA), Rancan Meyer AMA (RSA)

79 – Werner Lourens AMA (RSA), Neal Hauptfleisch AMA (RSA), Justin Levy (NLD), Shaun van Tonder (RSA)

80 – Michael Armstrong AMA (RSA), Derryn Mitri AMA (RSA), Rikus Oosthuizen AMA (RSA), Duan Nagel AMA (RSA), Devan Payne AMA (RSA), Keanan Aysen AMA (RSA), Jacques de Villiers (RSA)

81 – Rhoan Gardiner (RSA), Juan De Bruin AMA (RSA), Wianco Cronje AMA (RSA), Etzard Grimbeek AMA (RSA), Ramon Rigney (RSA)

82 – Kelvin Scheepers AMA (RSA), Cole Dodgen AMA (RSA), Gerard van Zyl AMA (RSA)

83 – Ashley Mulligan AMA (RSA), David Lamprecht (RSA)

84 – Laurence Duarte (RSA), Brendan Britten (NAM)

85 – Loic Csizmadia AMA (MUS)

86 – Theodore Tanski (RSA)

87 – Mohammed Ismail AMA (RSA), Reinard Schuhknect AMA (RSA)

88 – Marais Visagie (RSA)

89 – John Hanekom AMA (RSA)

92 – Melchior Raath AMA (RSA)

99 – Kyle Bennett (RSA)

DSQ – Stony Burks (RSA)

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