24th November 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Scholtz shares four-way tie at Modderfontein
JOHANNESBURG (24 November 2014) – Boland golfer Armand Scholtz made a winning start at Modderfontein Golf Club to ensure an amateur presence among the early leaders in the IGT Tour’s seventh Race to Q-School on Monday.
Scholtz eliminated two early bogeys to claim a share of the four-way lead on five-under-par 67.
The 22-year-old lanky Paarl golfer was delighted to share pole position with seasoned professional Peter Wilson from England and 2014 IGT Tour winners Werner van Niekerk and Tyron Mc Comb.
“I struggled with ball-striking and putting and didn’t perform well in the first three events in the Race to Q-School series, but my game is coming on nicely and I finished in the money in my last three starts,” Scholtz said.
“It’s great to be among the early leaders, especially with guys who know how to win. I just want to capitalise on this as much as possible to gain as experience, because it helps you learn to cope with the pressure.”
The long-hitting amateur began campaigning on the country’s premier development Tour at the start of the annual Race to Q-School series in October in preparation for the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School early next year.
He arrived at Modderfontein Golf Club on the back of a top four finish at the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy at Maccauvlei. “I hit it into the trees at the first, second and fifth holes, but I scrambled for par at the opening hole,” Scholtz said. “I couldn’t up-and-down at the second and fifth, but I managed to erase the bogeys and play myself into contention.”
Scholtz didn’t have a putt outside 15-feet and holed a 20-foot right to left slider at the 18th. He is relishing the chance to challenge for his first top five finish on the IGT Tour.
“I thought the IGT Tour would be a lot more stressful,” he said. “It is fiercely competitive, but the atmosphere more relaxed than I thought it would be. The IGT Tour has a nice family feel. Cois and Lokkie (du Plooy) work really hard to help the amateurs make a successful transition to the pro ranks.
“You adjust quickly and every week you just want to perform better than the week before.”
The Swingfit Education Academy member has been one of Boland’s top amateur contenders for the last seven years and believes he is ready for the pro circuit.
“I think the game has been ready for a while, but the first year on the Sunshine Tour is going to be tough with all the qualifiers and you have to be mentally ready to make the leap,” he said.
“I’ve been playing against the pros now since the start of October. I feel like I can hold my own and challenge when my game is on. It’s just a matter of getting used to being in this situation.”
Van Niekerk claimed the IGT Tour’s Race to Asian Q-School at Modderfontein in September and came close to claiming his second title in the Battle of Giants at Glendower last week. The 23-year-old TuksSport Golf Academy member carried the hot form to Modderfontein and dropped just one shot on his way to share the lead.
Journeyman Wilson also had one bogey, while McComb – who won the sixth IGT Tour Race to Asian Q-School event at CMR Golf Club in September – also negated two bogeys with seven birdies.
FIRST ROUND SCORES
67 – Peter Wilson ENG, Werner Van Niekerk, Tyron Mc Comb, Armandt Scholtz (AMA)
68 – DK Kim KOR, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA)
69 – Lean Boezaart, Coert Groenewald, Breyten Meyer (AMA), Stephan Erasmus (AMA)
70 – Bryn Flanagan, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA), TJ Bekker, Khaya Jika, Burger Heckroodt (AMA), Jacques de Villiers, Murray Smit, Andi Dill (AMA)
71 – Niel Meyer, Matthew Kiewitz (AMA)
72 – Andrew Carlsson (AMA), Fritz Orren (AMA), Antonio Rosado POR, David Rebelo (AMA), Duane Keun, Ryan Gosling, Shaun van Tonder, Dylan Docherty (AMA), Johannes Frahs GER (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA)
73 – Jonathan Waschefort, Gareth Akers (AMA), Jerry Steyn, Slade Fick (AMA), Conway Kunneke, Mark Fraser, Michael Dreyer
74 – Russel Franz, David Lamprecht, Zak Van Zyl
75 – Quintin Crause (AMA), Matthew Adams (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius, Pedro August (AMA), Calvin Caldeira, Robert Herselman FRA, Dwayne Coetzee
76 – Pieter Kruger, Terence Boardman, Rae Mackie, Craig Dreyer, Michael Armstrong (AMA), Brendan Blake (AMA), Juran Dreyer (AMA)
77 – Wayne du Toit, Dylan de Beer, Jason Ackerman (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA), Pierre Viviers, Pieter Van der Linde (AMA)
78 – David Marks (AMA), Helgardt Muller, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA), Byron Garvie, Bonita Bredenhann NAM, Jared Burnard
79 – Rudi Armstrong (AMA), Victor Nhlapho, Arno Bartholoma GER, Simon Kruger (AMA), Michael Kok (AMA)
80 – Wesley Horngren, Shaun Bernstein (AMA), Gustav Gouws (AMA)
82 – Joubert Van Eeden (AMA), Mohammed Ismail (AMA), Nicholas Botha (AMA)
83 – Matt Milligan (AMA), Nico Du Buisson (AMA), Ramon Rigney
84 – Mike Slabber, Mark Fairbank (AMA)
87 – Benjamin Cobbett (AMA)
91 – Theo Potgieter (AMA)