9th June 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Strydom on song at IGT’s Race to USA

Dainfern9-11JuneDay1 (34)(Photo – Okkie Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)

MIDRAND, 9 June 2014 – Okkie Strydom is relishing the prospect of winning a third IGT Pro Challenge Tour title this season after the Kempton Park golfer claimed a share of the first round lead at Dainfern Estate and Country Club on Monday.

Strydom offset two bogeys with five birdies to hit the front, but the pacesetter could have his job cut out to stave off Korea’s Hyun Park, who matched his three-under-par 69 to grab a share of the lead.

The leaders can’t afford to relax, though.

Khaya Jika, Rae Mackie and amateur Calvin Caldeira, while Jerry Steyn, Duane Keun, Lean Boezaarts and England’s Rob Menzies lurk at one under, while IGT Race to the USA Irene winner Michael Scholz leads Wayne Stroebel and amateur PG van der Linde at even-par.

Strydom captured the rain-shortened IGT Series Wingate in March and claimed a play-off victory against Toto Thimba at the IGT Series ERPM a week later.

Although he is not in contention for the Race to the USA series, the 29-year-old is very serious about finding some form ahead of his title defence in the R200,000 Mafeking Pro-Am at Leopard Park Golf Club this weekend.

“I certainly haven’t come here for a haircut this week,” Strydom clowned. “I not going to turn down another visit to the winner’s circle if it comes my way, but I really want to be in top form for Mafeking.

“I’m going for my hat-trick, and the Mafeking Pro-Am is always a big payday for us.”

Like the rest of the field, it took Strydom a while to get the measure of the greens at Dainfern.

“You had to pick the right side of the greens, or you were just putting for bogeys, because the greens are lightning fast,” Strydom said. “They running at about 12 on the stimp, so you really had to know what lines to take into the greens.

“I caught a bad lie beneath a tree at the 12th and made bogey from there. At the 17th, I misjudged the distance and hit a soft wedge to the back of green. Other than that, the game was pretty solid. I hit the ball really well, especially the driver and irons.”

Strydom, who finished the 2013 Sunshine Tour season in the top 70, had a fairly decent start before he was diagnosed with lymphedema and his season was cut short in April.

“It took about a month for the medication to run its course, but I didn’t have much of a choice but to wait it out,” he explained. “It was very painful, especially in my legs, and I couldn’t compete at all.

“It’s great to be playing again, though. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I need to get into form as soon as possible.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

Herewith the first round scores from the IGT Tour’s Race to the USA Dainfern, played at the par-72 Dainfern Estate and Country Club in Midrand on Monday, 9 June 2014; all competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs = (AMA)

69 – Ockert Strydom, Hyun Park KOR

70 – Calvin Caldeira (AMA), Khaya Jika, Rae Mackie

71 – Jerry Steyn, Duane Keun, Lean Boezaart, Rob Menzies ENG

72 – Pieter Van der Linde (AMA), Michael Scholz, Wayne Stroebel

73 – Cliff Howes, Christian Olivier (AMA), Lucas Steyn

74 – Julian de Wet (AMA), Jacques de Villiers, Jonathan Waschefort, Tyron McComb, Romano Saincic, Byron Garvie

75 – Mike Downes ENG, Theodor Oosthuizen (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius, Bonita Bredenhann NAM

76 – Antonio Rosado POR, John McClean NIR, Alwyn Vorster, Murray Smit

77 – Willie Steyn, David Lamprecht, DK Kim, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA), Raymond Mathonsi SWZ

78 – Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Russel Franz (AMA), Herman Minnie

79 – Conway Kunneke, Lydon Charnely (AMA), Werner Van Niekerk, Kirsten Campbell (AMA), Otto van Greunen

80 – CJ Levey (AMA), Jacqui Akers (AMA)

81 – Christian Kayumba-Mbanga ZIM, James Searson, Graham van den Berg (AMA)

82 – Shaun van Tonder

83 – Hanbo Lee, Ruwan Combrink

85 – Ian Thomas

86 – Keegan Steyn (AMA)

93 – Gustav Erasmus

97 – Stefan Malan

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