13th April 2015 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Palmer pushes ahead at RAW Golf School Classic

Houghton13-15AprDay1 (198)(Photo – Michael Palmer; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 13 April 2015 – Michael Palmer watched most of the final round action at the Masters on Sunday night, but the lack of sleep didn’t put a dent in his stride as he surged into lead the IGT Tour’s RAW Golf School Classic at Houghton Golf Club.

The 25-year-old Bryanston golfer mixed seven birdies with a lone bogey for a six-under-par 66 and put himself in a strong position in his fifth start on the country’s premier development circuit.

Palmer leads by two from Gideon Pienaar and leading amateur Carrie Park and finished four strokes clear of recent Centurion Academy Classic champion, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who shares fourth with Gauteng amateur Siphiwe Siphayi.

Predictably, Jordon Spieth and his Masters performance was the main topic of conversation in the clubhouse and Palmer said everyone is in awe of the young American.

“I watched until the 15th hole and I just couldn’t believe how well the guy putted,” Palmer said.

“Those holes must have looked like buckets to him, because just kept pouring them in. Watching him makes you want to go out there and hole everything in sight.

“We have 42 amateurs in the field this week and I think it’s great to have someone so young to look up to, especially for our young amateurs.

“His focus and the way he conducted himself, especially in the final round, is great motivation for the youngsters, and even ‘old timers’ like me.”

Palmer claimed a breakthrough victory in the paid ranks with a wire-to-wire performance in the Jeandre Fourie Classic in early February and came agonisingly close to back-to-back victories in the GFG Academy Classic a week later.

A solid start at Houghton has given the Oklahoma City University graduate plenty to smile about.

“The rough is pretty penal at Houghton, but I hit 11 of the 14 fairways and holed everything inside six feet and I’m pleased with how I managed myself out there,” Palmer said.

“We had a nice mix of fair to difficult holes; sometimes playing off the back tips and other times the tees were brought forward. The greens are really undulating and slopey, and you have to put yourself on the right side of the pins to stay out of trouble.

“I managed to stay on the right side and out of trouble for most of the round and I think that is key to scoring low at Houghton. And I holed a couple of 15-footers that helped me to the 66.”

Palmer’s only blemish came at the par-four 17th.

“I hit my drive left and it settled behind a tree, so I tried to punch it out and the ball hit a branch and went straight down,” he explained.

“I had to punch out again, but you have to accept that these things happen and get on with it.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

66 – Michael Palmer

68 – Carrie Park AMA, Gideon Pienaar

70 – Siphiwe Siphayi AMA, Christiaan Bezuidenhout

71 – Justin Levy (NLD), Duane Keun, Christiaan Pretorius

72 – Jacques de Villiers, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Mpho Mafishe, Shaun van Tonder

73 – Norman Beggs, TJ Bekker, Niel Meyer, Sipho Bujela, Stephan Erasmus AMA, Tyron Roelofsz, CJ Levey AMA

74 – NJ Arnoldi, CJ du Plessis, David Ashley AMA

75 – Michael Armstrong AMA, Dylan Docherty AMA, Dylan O’Leary, Wim Grobler

76 – Tyron Mc Comb, Marc De Jager AMA, Gareth Akers AMA, Keegan Steyn AMA, Rhoan Gardiner, Matthew Adams AMA

77 – Wayne Stroebel, Jandre Fullard AMA, Angelo Marques AMA

78 – Ryan Gosling, Sean Olfsen AMA, Morne Wolmarans AMA, Arno Bartholoma (GER), Phillip Kruse AMA, Carlos Arroyo AMA

79 – Hilton Hughes AMA, Danie Pretorius, Paul De Beer, Devan Payne AMA, Michael Kok AMA

80 – Ricki Dembo AMA, Wayne du Toit, Sean Coomer AMA, Stephan De Beer, Byron Garvie, Ruan Korb AMA, Michael Jooste AMA, Ryan Wingrove AMA

81 – Zander Potgieter AMA, Murray Smit, Jason Ackerman AMA, Brendan Britten (NAM)

82 – Nicholas Botha AMA, Kyle Beattie AMA, Wesley Baptiste AMA, Liam Clinton AMA, Owen Grobler, Tung- nan Lin AMA (TWN), Terence Boardman, Werner Lourens AMA

83 – Duan Nagel AMA, PG Van der Linde

84 – Cole Dodgen AMA, Zarko Fabricius AMA, Corne Bloem, Michael Pienaar AMA

85 – Francois van Rensburg AMA

86 – Dwayne Coetzee

87 – Marais Visagie

88 – Dylan Erasmus AMA, David Marks AMA

90 – Gustav Erasmus

91 – Gerard van Zyl AMA

92 – Juan De Bruin AMA

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