6th June 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Trio in pursuit of Barker at Wingate
(PHOTO – Paul Boshoff; credit Lee Roux)
TSHWANE, 6 June 2017 – Kyle Barker will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Wingate Challenge, but he will have Pretoria rookie Paul Boshoff and amateur duo Michael Kok and JP Cooper in close pursuit as he bids for a second IGT Challenge Tour victory.
The 19-year-old Barker posted a one-under-par 71 at Wingate Park Country Club on Tuesday to move to six under par, with Boshoff hot on his heels after matching the Randpark rookie’s effort.
Boshoff briefly held outright lead after Barker dropped a shot at 15, but he reclaimed his overnight advantage with a birdie-birdie finish.
Cooper returned a 70 at his home course to finish three off the pace in joint third with Kok, who fired a 68 that featured a string of four successive birdies from the par three 14th.
All eyes will be on the last group on what is set to be a dramatic final day in Tshwane.
Barker has been in threatening form lately and a second IGT Challenge Tour victory is just 18 holes away for the GolfWorx player, but he knows he cannot get ahead of himself.
“Winning? Hopefully we can talk about it tomorrow,” said Barker.
“There are so many factors that could influence what happens in the final round, so there is no point talking about the what-ifs. The pin positions, the weather, the course set-up will all play a role. And everyone chasing me is good and have a chance to get past me.
“All I know is that I’m going to have to make some birdies to stay ahead of Paul. The key for tomorrow’s round I hope not to make any bogeys and putt really well like what I’ve done in the last two days.”
Boshoff is certainly a serious contender.
The BDGA Academy golfer came close on two occasions last year and racked up successive second-place finishes during the business end of the Race to Q-School at State Mines and the Firethorn Course at Randpark in February.
He has only played once on the country’s premier golf development circuit since February but a tie for 12th at the Kyalami Challenge in April is a good indication that the work Boshoff is doing with coach Hendrik Buhrmann is starting to pay off.
“I took a little break after the Race to Q-School series to work on my swing,” said Boshoff.
“We are trying to train my body so the driver and the longer clubs don’t fall behind my body. I want the club and the clubface to stay square longer through the swing.
“I received an invite to play in Australia and it was nice to go and test the swing on foreign soil. I was very pleased that I made the cut, even if there is still some work to be done. I didn’t expect too much this week, so it’s a nice bonus that I get to play with Kyle in the final group on Wednesday.
“We’ve known each other for many years via the amateur circuit and we will drive one another. It should be a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile amateur Peetie van der Merwe birdied four of the last five holes for the lowest round of the day with his 67, while Deon Bredenkamp went 14 shots better than his opening 82 with a 68 that featured an eagle two at the 10th and a hole-in-one at the par three 14th.
Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner Ivanna Samu and Sunshine Tour player Callum Mowat also made some positive moves. Samu shot a second round 72 to move to two over, while IGT Challenge Tour graduate Mowat fired a 71 to finish at even-par 144.