22nd October 2019 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Smith stays on track for Big Easy IGT hat-trick

Smith stays on track for Big Easy IGT hat-trick

(PHOTO – Jason Smith; credit CJ du Plooy)

KRUGERSDORP, 22 October 2019 – Jason Smith will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the 14th event on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour, but the Pretoria golfer will have a sizable chasing pack breathing down his neck as he seeks to become the series’ first three-time winner.

Smith had to stay patient on another windy day at Krugersdorp Golf Club.

He mixed 14 pars with two bogeys and a pair of birdies in an even-par round to lead by one shot on four-under from Leon Vorster, Eric Nel and Desne van den Bergh.

A further eight players within three shots of his lead.

“The wind was tough to read today,” said Smith, who won the fifth event and 12th events and sits in second place on the Road to Sunshine Tour rankings. “The wind gusting and kept changing direction. You finally pick a club to trust and then the wind doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. It was a bit of a battle.

“I had to scramble for a few more pars than yesterday and I also didn’t hit enough approach shots close to the pins to make birdies. It was a grind; one of those rounds that if you can get it one or two under par or limit the damage, you walk away happy.

“I’m relatively okay with the round today, but I will need to take advantage of the par fives in the final round. There are three on the front nine and if you birdie those, it sets you up nicely and gives you some good momentum to take into the back nine.”

The trio in joint second all returned rounds of two-under-par 70.

Nel from Centurion and seasoned Vaal de Grace golfer Van den Bergh – already a winner this season – had a trio of bogeys, while Orkney rookie Vorster racked up four birdies and an eagle three to join the three-way tie on three-under.

“The course set-up wasn’t as tough as on day one, but the swirling, gusting wind made club selection very difficult,” said 22-year-old Vorster.

“I hit gap-wedge to three feet on the sixth. I drove my tee shot right into the trees and hit my second over the green, but chipped in for eagle. That birdie-eagle combo definitely kept me in contention,”

Local favourite Calvin Caldeira also posted 70 to in a tie for fifth on two-under with Byron Coetzee, who went the deepest on the day with a six-under-par 66.

The 19-year-old Kloof golfer birdied all the par fives, and fired a trio of birdies down the home stretch to clinch the low round honours.

“The highlight of the round was definitely the birdie on the stroke one, par four 15th,” Coetzee said.

“I pushed my driver right into the trees. I went for the green over the trees, but caught the top of a tree and I was fortunate to find the fairway. I hit a brilliant gap-wedge into the wind straight at the pin from 125 metres and it pitched two feet short of the flag, rolled past and spun back straight into the hole.

“That really got my confidence back up. I drove it 10 metres short of the green on 17, chipped it close and boxed for birdie. On the last hole, I went with a 4-iron and had about 120 metres flag. I hit another brilliant sand-wedge to a foot behind the hole and tapped in for birdie. I was really happy with that score. I’m two behind, but I have given myself a chance.”

Meanwhile it was a day to forget for Zabastian de Jager.

The Klerkdorp rookie was two strokes off the lead at the start of the round, but held the outright lead on seven-under through 12 holes before four bogeys over the next five holes and a double bogey for a 73 finish dropped him to on one-under and joint seventh.

Second Round Scores

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated at AMA

140 – Jason Smith 68 72

141 – Eric Nel 71 70, Desne van den Bergh 71 70, Leon Vorster 71 70

142 – Calvin Caldeira 72 70, Byron Coetzee 76 66

143 – Zabastian de Jager 70 73, Matt Saulez 75 68, Gideon van der Vyver 72 71, Hennie O’Kennedy 72 71, Jeff Inglis (ENG) 74 69, Bryce Myburgh 75 68

144 – Jeremy Sharpe 72 72, Dwayne Basson 76 68, Michael Pfeifer 71 73, Reinhardt Blaauw 74 70, Neal Woernhard (SUI) 73 71

145 – Quintin Wilsnach 76 69, Simon du Plooy AMA 76 69, Jason Rossiter 71 74, Kieron van Wyk AMA 72 73

146 – Keanu Pestana 76 70, Keagan Thomas AMA 72 74, Liam Labuschagne 77 69, Michael Kok 73 73

147 – Leon van der Walt AMA 78 69, Jason Roets 75 72, Thato Mazibuko 75 72, Jason Froneman 73 74, Greg Bentley (ZIM) 75 72, Luan Boshoff 74 73, Donovan Pearse 72 75

148 – Gary Daoust (BEL) 77 71, Xander Basson AMA 76 72, Marthin Scheepers 72 76, Henning du Plooy 76 72, Oswin Schlenkrich AMA 78 70, John McClean (NIR) 74 74

Missed the cut:-

149 – Richard Joubert 75 74, Clayton Mansfield 77 72, Nicholaus Frade 74 75, Francois Blaauw AMA 81 68, Christian Basson 75 74, Quintin Crause 75 74, Michael-James Steyn 78 71

150 – Marcel Steyn Scholtz 74 76, Ruhan van Dijk 80 70, Morne Buys 74 76, Andi Dill 77 73, Gareth Sargent 77 73, Angus Ellis-Cole 77 73, Jaco van der Merwe 71 79, Cole Stevens AMA 78 72

151 – Thabang Simon 80 71, Coert Groenewald 74 77, Divan Marais 80 71, Keaton Slatter 79 72, Marco de Beer 80 71, Dean du Plessis 76 75, Alpheus Kelapile 72 79

152 – Thabiso Ngcobo 77 75, Gerhard Pepler 78 74

153 – Carlo Heunis 79 74, Romano Saincic 76 77, Michael Schutz 81 72

154 – Albert Venter 82 72, Matthew Spacey 81 73, Stephan Erasmus 81 73

155 – Jason Viljoen 81 74

156 – Albert Visser 78 78, Gerard du Plooy 76 80

157 – Deon Bredenkamp 83 74, Jastice Mashego 81 76

158 – Mike Maile 74 84

159 – Ernst Louw AMA 79 80

161 – Chase Paton 81 80, Jonathan George AMA 83 78

163 – Thabo Moraba 88 75

165 – Fritz Orren 89 76

169 – Clinton Duncan AMA 85 84

RTD – Evance Vukeya 80 RTD

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.

 

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