3rd June 2014 | Big Easy IGT Golf

Van Niekerk chases Franz at Race to USA

Krugersdorp2-4JunDay1 (52)(Photo – Werner van Niekerk; credit CJ du Plooy)

KRUGERSDORP, 3 June 2014 – For a second successive week, former Gauteng North stable mates Russel Franz and Werner van Niekerk will go head-to-head when the two Pretoria players line up in the final round of the IGT Tour’s fourth Race to the USA at Krugersdorp Golf Club on Wednesday.

Franz shared the first round lead with Korean Hyun Park after both players opened with 67s, while Van Niekerk lagged three shots off the pace.

While the lanky Franz – hunting back-to-back victories after his success at Wingate Park Country Club last week – held on for pole with a four-under-par 68 on Tuesday, Park returned a 71 to slip three behind the lanky amateur, who leads the field at nine-under-par 135.

Van Niekerk, meanwhile, moved into striking distance with a 67 to trail Franz by two.

Local amateur Darren du Smidt sits at three under in fourth after carding a two under 70.

Van Niekerk has notched six top 10 finishes in 10 starts since February and is keen to convert to runner-up finishes to victory.

“Some days I am just delighted at the level of consistency I have achieved in the last three months, and on other days, I feel frustrated that I haven’t closed the deal,” the 23-year-old BSc Construction Management graduate said.

“I seem to let myself down with silly mistakes in the final round. I know the victory will come; I just have to keep a lid on my impatience.”

The HPC Academy player drained three birdie putts to offset to bogeys on his front nine and sandwiched an eagle three at the par-four third between birdies at the second and fourth on the home straight.

“I dropped a shot at the sixth, but I covered the bogey with a birdie at the seventh,” Van Niekerk said.

“I chipped in from the bunker at the 10th for birdie, chipped in for birdie at the 16th and chipped in from the front edge for eagle at the third, so the lob-wedge was the hero today.”

Franz found trouble at the sixth and 14th to drop two shots from his six-birdie stock pile.

“The course played at least four to five shots tougher because of the wind,” he said. “It was swirling and inconsistent, changing direction all the time. It was a frustrating day with club selection, but I’m happy to the leading again. This is exactly why I play the IGT Tour; so I can use to the pressure at the top.”

Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland followed an opening 73 with a 75 to tie for 22nd on four over, while Pretoria amateur, Magda Kruger, carded rounds of 72 and 82 to finish inside the cut, set at 11 over.

SECOND ROUND SCORES

135 – Russel Franz (AMA) 67 68

137 – Werner Van Niekerk 70 67

138 – Hyun Park KOR 67 71

141 – Darin De Smidt (AMA) 71 70

143 – Rae Mackie 72 71, Calvin Caldeira (AMA) 71 72, Christiaan Pretorius 73 70, DK Kim KOR 75 68, Hano van der Walt 73 70

144 – Antonio Rosado POR 70 74

145 – Lean Boezaart 75 70, Otto van Greunen 72 73

146 – Michael Scholz 72 74, CJ Levey (AMA) 74 72, Jerry Steyn 76 70, Lucas Steyn 73 73, Gareth Akers (AMA) 71 75

147 – Jason Diab (AMA) 70 77, Coert Groenewald 72 75, Jonathan Waschefort 77 70, James Searson 72 75

148 – Andi Dill (AMA) 75 73, Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 73 75

149 – Andre Pistorius 77 72, Mike Quinn 75 74, Leon Scheepers (AMA) 76 73

150 – Conway Kunneke 75 75, Mpho Mafishe 72 78

151 – Stephan Erasmus (AMA) 73 78, Duane Keun 75 76, Ian Ansett (AMA) 74 77

152 – Shaun van Tonder 77 75, Matthew Kiewitz (AMA) 74 78

153 – Christian Kayumba-Mbanga ZIM 77 76, Herman Minnie 76 77, Wayne Stroebel 77 76, Pieter Van der Linde (AMA) 80 73

154 – Daniel Joubert (AMA) 73 81, Anton Steenkamp (AMA) 75 79, Magda Kruger (AMA) 72 82

155 – Ryan Wingrove (AMA) 77 78, Stephan De Beer (AMA) 77 78, Hilton Hughes (AMA) 76 79, Niel Meyer (AMA) 76 79, Johan Theron 79 76, Arno Bartholoma (AMA) 80 75, Raymond Mathonsi SWZ 78 77

Missed the cut:-

156 – Karl Lehmacher (AMA) 75 81, Byron Garvie 81 75

157 – Keegan Steyn (AMA) 81 76, Khaya Jika 80 77

159 – Michael Jooste (AMA) 78 81, Jacqui Akers (AMA) 81 78

160 – Rob Menzies ENG 82 78, Mark Fraser 79 81, Alwyn Vorster 81 79

162 – Julian de Wet (AMA) 81 81, Werner Lourens (AMA) 79 83

164 – Amerigo Renieri (AMA) 86 78

170 – Russell Jaques ENG (AMA) 84 86

172 – Stefan Malan 82 90

174 – Daren Malan (AMA) 90 84

WDN – Lydon Charnely (AMA) 83 WDN, Francesca Cuturi 77 WDN

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