22nd May 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Two-way tie at Firethorn in Randpark
(PHOTO – Bryce Myburgh; credit CJ du Plooy)
RANDPARK, Johannesburg (22 May 2017) – Pretoria rookie Estiaan Conradie opened with a four-under-par 68 to grab a share of the lead with Springs-born Bryce Myburgh in the IGT Challenge Tour’s Randpark Firethorn Challenge on Monday.
The 19-year-old from Wingate Park had three fast victories as an amateur early on last season, but Conradie has not tasted the success since he joined the paid ranks late last year. Myburgh, by comparison, is an ‘old kid on the block’.
He graduated the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Central Texas in 2013 with a science degree in sports management and competed on the Adams Tour – a feeder circuit in the United States for the Web.com and PGA Tours similar to South Africa’s premier development golf circuit – from August 2013 until the end of 2015.
“I came back to South Africa at the start of 2016 and started playing the IGT Challenge Tour,” said Myburgh. “In March I gave the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School a go, but I got knocked out at First Stage, so I know there is still some work to be done.”
Myburgh was born in Springs, grew up in Ballito and played his amateur golf out of Umhlali Country Club. These days he is based at Steyn City.
“I loved competing on the Adams Tour, because it really taught me a lot about myself, my game and whether I had the personality to pursue a career in golf, but I must admit, it’s nice to be home,” said Myburgh.
“The Adams Tour covers all the southern states of the United States and we travelled a lot. All that travel between events, finding a spot to sleep, locating the course and the closest laundromat and all that stuff teaches you a lot about your character.
“It was tough at first, but I loved it. Just as I’m loving it out here on the IGT Challenge Tour. It might be smaller by comparison to the some mini-tours in the USA or Europe, but it’s definitely the perfect fit for guys like myself and amateurs who want to cut their teeth. It’s cheaper than Europe and the USA, but it is just as competitive and the standard is high.
“I haven’t really performed to standard in my last few starts, but today I shot the kind of score I know I am capable of posting. I’ve worked really hard in the last few months. It’s the other benefit of playing the IGT Challenge Tour. You can work on your game while you’re competing and test things out. It felt good walking off the course with a solid round and my name in the hat.”
Where Conradie mixed two birdies on the front nine with four gains and bogeys at 11 and 18 on the back nine, Myburgh scored most of his points over the first nine holes.
“I had a fast start with back-to-back birdies, but I three-putted the third for my first bogey,” he said. “I made a good birdie at the next par five (fourth) and took advantage of the shorter par four ninth to go with the driver. I finished 20 metres short of the green, chipped it to six foot and holed the birdie putt.
“I birdied the par five 12th, as well, but I was a little disappointed that I didn’t the last par five (14). I pushed my tee shot right, but hit a good recovery and pitched it on but two-putted for par.
“Still, any time you make par, it’s a good day. It’s nice to have my nose in front and I’ve played with Estiaan a few times. He is a real little fighter, so I hope we can both stay at the front and have a nice little tussle on Wednesday.”
Dylan O’Leary carded 69 to finish in third on her own, while Gary Player Class of 2017 player Heinrich Bruiners shares fourth at two under with five players, including last week’s Pecanwood Challenge winner Roberto Lupini.