15th April 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Quintet tied at the top at Elements

Quintet tied at the top at Elements

Quintet tied at the top at Elements

(PHOTO – Rae Mackie; credit CJ du Plooy)

BELA-BELA, 15 April 2014 – Limpopo native Rae Mackie fired an opening two-under-par 70 for a share of the five-way lead in the IGT Series Win a Car Final at Elements Private Golf Reserve.

The local favourite took advantage of the splendid weather in the Bela-Bela region to join Wynand Dingle, Gideon Pienaar, Dayne Moore and JC Ritchie atop a crowded leaderboard.

The leading quintet finished one shot clear of Jerry Steyn, Duane Keun, Juan Langeveld and John McClean from Northern Ireland

Former Africa Open champion Shaun Norris and Francois Coetzee trail by two, while Englishmen Mike Downes and Neil Cheetham, South Africa’s Frans Strydom and Antonio Rosado from Portugal – already a three-time winner this season – lurk just three shots back.

Mackie solid start was down to eight birdies that included a handy string of five around the turn.

“Eight birdies always gives you a little lift, even if I dropped six shots along the way,” Mackie said.

He hit his tee shot too far right at the second and hacked his way to a six, and then traded birdies for bogeys over the next four holes, but the putter caught fire when Mackie reached the ninth.

“I had three in a row from the ninth, and picked up three more birdies at the 11th, 13th and 14th. It was a great little run and it was especially nice to box a couple of 20- and 30-footers between the shorter putts.

“I’m hitting the ball well, but the greens are incredibly fast; probably the best I’ve played all year. It’s not easy to get the ball to stop exactly where you want it. I really enjoyed that little stretch.”

Some of that good work took a blow when he double-bogeyed the 16th.

“I hit my tee shot just off the fairway and into a divot. I hacked it out of there, but three-putted for the double. Made a birdie at the 17th, though, so that lessened the disappointment somewhat.”

The 28-year-old grew up in Polokwane, but relocated to Pretoria after high school. He represented Gauteng-North for a number of years until he joined the paid ranks in 2012.

“I had a full season on the IGT Tour last year and I feel that I’ve approved a lot in the last season,” he said. “I was really pleased to make the field for this week, because you had to play well to qualify. I’m definitely more consistent, but I just need more confidence. Rounds like this will give you that boost; now I just have to carry the momentum into the next round.”

Only the top 60 players on the IGT Tour Order of Merit after last week’s IGT Series Silver Lakes qualified to contest for the Seat Ibiza on offer this week.

“It’s very nice to play for more than just prize money,” Mackie said. “It raises the stakes and gives everyone a little extra incentive to compete.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

70 – Rae Mackie, Wynand Dingle, Gideon Pienaar, Dayne Moore, JC Ritchie

71 – Jerry Steyn, Duane Keun, Juan Langeveld, John McClean

72 – Shaun Norris, Francois Coetzee

73 – Mike Downes, Frans Strydom, Neil Cheetham, Antonio Rosado

74 – Ryan Gosling, Christiaan Pretorius, Ted Hendriks, Pieter Kruger, Tertius Van Den Berg, Lean Boezaart

75 – Pierre Viviers, Brett Liddle, Herman Minnie, Otto van Greunen

76 – Coert Groenewald, Graham van den Berg (AM), Rourke Van der Spuy, Johan de Beer

77 – Pieter Van der Linde (AM), Dwayne Coetzee, Thomas Lovett

78 – Robert Herselman, Arno Bartholoma (AM), Terence Boardman, David Lamprecht

79 – Alwyn Vorster

80 – TJ Bekker, Murray Smit

82 – Johan Smit (AM), Bryandrew Roelofsz, Deon Bredenkamp

89 – Wayne Stroebel

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