23rd October 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Palmer powers to victory in Race to Q-School

Houghton20-22OctDay3 (192)(PHOTO – Michael Palmer; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 22 October 2015 – Nothing feeds a golfer’s confidence more than a turn in a winner’s circle and Michael Palmer positively beamed after sewing up his fourth IGT Pro Tour title this season in the Race to Q-School, presented by RAW Golf School, on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Bryanston golfer followed rounds of 67 and 73 with a one under 71 to claim a three stroke victory on five-under-par 211 at Houghton Golf Club.

“This was one of the toughest weeks yet on the IGT Tour and I’m pleased about this win before I leave for the European Tour’s Second Stage Qualifier next week.

“Since I started playing the IGT Tour, I realised that patience is probably the most important ‘club’ in your bag and mine got a really good workout this week.

“The set-up was tough and the greens are typical of Jack Nicklaus courses; most of the time you had to play away from the flag. You had to stay patient and wait for the birdies to drop.

“The wind really pumped in the final round, which made the course even trickier. That’s why I really value this victory; it was a hard-earned win.”

Palmer started the final round with a three stroke lead.

Although fellow pro NJ Arnoldi and amateurs Louis Taylor and Dylan O’Leary got within striking distance just after the turn, none of them had the staying power to deny Palmer.

He surrendered his first shot at the par-five fifth, but after driving it short of the green at the par-four eighth, chipped it to 10 feet and made the birdie putt.

Having turned five under, Palmer chipped in for birdie from the fringe at 10, but lost the advantage with a bogey at the next hole.

“I hit my approach to the wrong side of the green and I knew I was in trouble,” Palmer said. “My first putt ran six feet past the hole and the second for par turned the other way.

“At this stage, NJ, Dylan and Louis were chasing hard. I only had a one shot lead, but I knew I needed to stay patient. I think that’s a mistake a lot of inexperienced players make. You can’t react to the pressure, because that’s when things can go south pretty quickly.”

Palmer hit the fairway bunker at 13 and caught the trap-shot a little heavy, but chipped in from the fringe for a last birdie to putt some space between himself and the chasing pack.

“The last five holes were all really good pars,” said the Oklahoma City University graduate.

“I kept a level head and just grinded my way to the end. That’s really the part of the round that has given me a lot of confidence.”

Former IGT Tour winner Bryn Flanagan and Taylor carded 71s to tie for second on two under and O’Leary closed with a 70 to finish fourth at one under 143.

Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland was equally pleased with her top 20 finish.

“I made swing changes last year and I’m finally striking the ball really well,” said Dlamini, whose rounds of 77, 72 and 72 secured her a share of 18th on five over.

“I’ve got a few weeks left to get the game sharp for the Ladies European Tour Second Stage Qualifier in Morocco. I made a couple of silly mistakes, but the final round was really solid and that’s good for the confidence.”

Melissa Eaton closed with a 77 to finish on 12 over, while fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners Alana van Greuning (80) and Francesca Cuturi (77) tied for 45 on 14 over.

Siphiwe Siphayi posted a four-under-par 68 to collect a R500 bonus for the low round honours.

FINAL RESULT

All competitors RSA unless otherwise stated; amateurs indicated as (ama)

211 – Michael Palmer 67 73 71

214 – Louis Taylor (ama) 69 74 71, Bryn Flanagan 66 77 71

215 – Dylan O’Leary 74 71 70

217 – Jeff Hopkins (ama) IRE 71 73 73, Conway Kunneke 75 69 73

218 – Peter Wilson ENG 70 76 72, Bryce McCabe 72 74 72, NJ Arnoldi 67 77 74

219 – Joubert van Eeden 74 76 69, Matthew Kent 73 75 71, Mikhail Tewary 74 73 72, Herman Minnie 72 74 73, Bryandrew Roelofsz 72 73 74

220 – Christiaan Pretorius 71 79 70, Hilton Hughes (ama) 79 71 70, Andrew Carlsson (ama) 74 68 78

221 – Nobuhle Dlamini SWA 77 72 72, Danie Pretorius 76 72 73, Jason Diab 73 74 74, Ryan Ciapparelli 71 74 76, Matthew Adams (ama) 72 73 76

222 – Dean O’Riley 74 74 74, Paul de Beer 72 74 76

223 – Bartjie de Klerk (ama) 70 79 74, Gareth Akers 75 75 73, Derryn Mitri (ama) 76 73 74, CJ Levey (ama) 72 78 73, David McIntyre (ama) 71 78 74

224 – Vico Kuhn 75 74 75, Justin Levy NLD 70 81 73, Siphiwe Siphayi 73 83 68

225 – Brendan Britten NAM 72 79 74, Liam Clinton (ama) 75 69 81

226 – Damian Naicker 72 77 77, Michael Armstrong (ama) 72 78 76, Romano Saincic 73 80 73

227 – Gerard du Plooy 73 79 75, Amerigo Renieri (ama) 76 76 75, Chris van Tonder (ama) 74 80 73, David Ashley ENG 73 83 71

228 – Jacques Ungerer 79 70 79, Melissa Eaton 78 73 77

229 – Andi Dill (ama) 74 79 76

230 – Alana van Greuning 76 74 80, Neal Herman (ama) 76 76 78, Francesca Cuturi 77 76 77, Tom Watson (ama) 77 76 77, Jandre Fullard (ama) 75 80 75, Shaun van Tonder 73 83 74, JP Schmidt (ama) 79 78 73

231 – Dwayne Coetzee 80 75 76

232 – Phillip Montgomery 76 80 76

233 – Quintin Crause (ama) 77 79 77, Armandt Scholtz (ama) 77 80 76

234 – Altaaf Bux 76 73 85

235 – Matt Bright (ama) 74 80 81

237 – Graham van der Merwe 80 76 81, Dylan Docherty 80 76 81

240 – Stephan Erasmus (ama) 75 81 84

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