4th March 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Van den Berg and Pienaar shares spoils at IGT Wingate

Photo – Tokkie van den Berg; credit CJ du Plooy Wingate3-5MarDay1 (146)

JOHANNESBURG, 3 March 2014 – Tokkie van den Berg double bogeyed the 18th at Wingate Park Country Club, but the Pretoria professional laughed when he signed for a five-under-par 67 and a share of the first round lead with Gideon Pienaar in the IGT Series Wingate on Monday.

“I picked up a birdie at the third and then had a string of five birdies from the ninth,” the 23-year-old Sunshine Tour rookie explained. “I got to seven under with another birdie at 15, but then everything went Woody Woodpecker at the 18th.

“First I hit my tee shot into the trees and when I tried to punch it out, I hit a tree. My third shot hit yet another tree, so you can imagine my relief when I finally got in onto the green.
“That’s the way things go, sometimes, and you just have to laugh about it. What’s done, is done, and I’m still in contention. That’s the only thing that matters.”

Fellow Sunshine Tour rookie Pienaar also enjoyed a good day with the putter.

The Pretoria golfer turned in five under after gains at the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth holes, and also reached seven under after a pair of birdies at the 11th and 12th. However, the GFG Academy player dropped a shot at the par-five 13th and bogeyed the 17th to join Van den Berg in the front.

The leading pair are two shots clear of England’s Mike Downes and Aubrey Barnard, while seasoned veteran Neil Cheetham from England, Ockert Strydom and Northern Ireland’s John McClean, who carded a flawless 70, share fifth on 70.

Van den Berg, who earned his Sunshine Tour card at the Qualifying School in January, was pleased to be in contention.

“It’s been very tough out there, trying to qualify for the Sunshine Tour,” he said. “The standard is very high and the pressure is enormous. You have to be on top of your game 24/7 and when you haven’t had a lot of experience at that level, it’s very trying.

“The key is to stay patient, focussed and to keep yourself competitive. That’s why so many pros come to compete on the IGT Tour when the Sunshine Tour has a break. It’s very competitive and the pressure is always there to perform. That’s something we rookies are still getting used to.”

Van den Berg also welcomed the added incentive.

“I think the Race to the Car swing is great,” he said. “You know what you are playing for in terms of prize money, but to have another carrot to go after is a great incentive.”

Top SA amateur and a three-time IGT winner last year, Zander Lombard, leads the amateurs in the 128-strong field after carding a one-under-par 71. Lombard is one stroke clear of Italy’s Philip Geerts and fellow South Africans Ruan Conradie and Johan Smit.

FIRST ROUND SCORES

67 – Tertius Van Den Berg, Gideon Pienaar

69 – Aubrey Barnard, Mike Downes ENG

70 – Neil Cheetham ENG, John McClean NIR, Ockert Strydom

71 – Lean Boezaart, Conway Kunneke, Zander Lombard (AMA)

72 – Norman Beggs, TJ Bekker, Ruan Conradie (AMA), Tyron Mc Comb, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA), Johan Smit (AMA), Werner Van Niekerk, CJ du Plessis, Francois Coetzee, Brandon Taylor USA

73 – Frans Strydom, Otto van Greunen, Ted Hendriks, Wayne Stroebel, Eddie Taylor, Herman Minnie, JC van Dommelen, Johan de Beer, Micky Hough, Ruan Huysamen NAM

74 – Ruan van Blerk NAM, Russel Franz (AMA), Gareth Akers (AMA), Reghard Neethling (AMA), Bryandrew Roelofsz, Coert Groenewald, Arno Pretorius (AMA), Jaco Prinsloo, Ph Mcintyre, Toto Thimba Jnr, Dylan de Beer, Dwayne Coetzee, Robert Herselman (AMA), Leon Scheepers (AMA), Sam Botham ENG

75 – Jeandre Fourie, Dayne Moore ZAM, Raymond Mathonsi SWZ, Juan Langeveld, Paul De Beer, Werner Ferreira (AMA), Andrew Light, Stuart Smith BOT, Willie Steyn, Rourke Van der Spuy, Hano van der Walt, Cilliers Naude, Leon De Lange (AMA), Andi Dill (AMA)

76 – Ryan Gosling, Christiaan Jonck, Christiaan Pretorius, Jonathan Waschefort, Louis Moolman, Antonio Rosado POR, Thomas Lovett, JC Ritchie, Hyun Park KOR, Henry Featherstone ENG, Jerry Steyn, Arthur Horne SWZ

77 – Stef Visage, Jacques de Villiers, Arno Bartholoma (AMA), Jacques Prinsloo, Romano Saincic, Tino Khosa (AMA), Vincent Schaffler (AMA), Greg Bentley ZIM

78 – Jaco Liebenberg, Anton Steenkamp (AMA), Murray Smit, Jason Diab (AMA), Danie Pretorius, David Lamprecht (AMA), Wynand Dingle

79 – Hanbo Lee, Chris Ha Yeung (AMA), Rae Mackie, Justin Thomas (AMA), Gian Scarola, Will Mathews USA, Lucas Steyn

80 – Christoff Els (AMA), Niel Meyer (AMA), Ruan Botha, Chris Haefele

81 – Shane Heckler (AMA), Philip du Preez, Terence Boardman, Pierre Viviers, Alex Botha (AMA), Wayne du Toit, Gustav Gouws (AMA), Stephan De Beer (AMA), Joubert Van Eeden (AMA), Greg Nofal (AMA), Eugene van Loggerenberg

82 – Tim Garner, Slade Fick (AMA), Deon Bredenkamp, Albert Visser (AMA), Michael Armstrong (AMA), Pieter Van der Linde (AMA)

83 – Zak Van Zyl, Julian de Wet (AMA), Tjaart Van Wyk (AMA), Werner van der Walt, Lourens Du Plessis (AMA)

84 – Fouche Botha (AMA)

85 – Mark Fraser, Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Nicolai Thomsen DEN (AMA)

86 – Stefan Jordaan (AMA)

88 – Etzard Grimbeek (AMA)

89 – Gustav Erasmus

93 – James Benzien

N/R – Alwyn Vorster

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