22nd August 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Advantage Buitendag at Wingate Park
(PHOTO – Jade Buitendag; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 22 August 2017 – Jade Buitendag from Border took a huge step towards a maiden professional title on the IGT Challenge Tour when he opened up five shot lead on the chasing pack in the second round of the Wingate Challenge.
Using his well-honed skills to navigate the pummelling wind at Wingate Park Country Club, the joint first round leader moved to the top of the pile at 11-under-par 133 with a sublime on Tuesday.
“The conditions were really tough,” said Buitendag, who bookended his round with a birdie-eagle combination the first and second holes and a brace of birdies at the closing holes.
“We were playing in a three-club wind, so it was pretty great to come out of the gate with a birdie-eagle start. It definitely set the tone of the day. I always enjoy playing in the wind, so I had a lot of fun and my experience in the wind definitely benefitted me out there.”
Buitendag split the fairway with a five-iron and parked a wedge from 137 metres six feet from the pin at the first.
“Made the putt and took the driver out at the second hole,” said the East London golfer. “I drove it down the left and hit eight-iron to eight feet. Boxed the birdie putt and followed with two good pars, but unfortunately I dropped the next two holes.”
“I should have hit a nine-iron at the fifth, but I went with the eight. I hit it too long and ended up three-putting for bogey. At six, I leaked my tee shot right and I was just about dead behind a tree. A bogey was exactly a good result. But I got myself back to two under for the day with a birdie at the ninth, and managed to reel in three more on the back nine.”
Buitendag sunk six-footers for birdies at both the closing holes and was delighted with his irons and putter after a good day’s graft.
“I have been striking the ball well for a few weeks now, but the putter has started to come around and I have rolled the ball nicely in the last two days,” said the HPC Tuks Golf Academies member.
“We still have 18 holes to go and there are a lot of guys behind me capable of shooting really low scores. Nothing is a foregone conclusion in golf, so I’m not counting any chickens just yet, but it’s a great feeling to be scoring well again.”
Pieter Moolman moved to second at six under, and Teagan Moore sits in third spot at five under after both players carded rounds of 70. Ruan Korb lost his grip on a share of the overnight lead after carding a 74 and the Pretoria golfer slipped to a tie for fourth at four under with Dean O’Riley and Juan Langeveld.
Besides two 67s from Buitendag and Langeveld, the only other player to break 70 in the testing conditions was local favourite Estiaan Conradie, whose 68 earned the Wingate Park golfer a share of seventh at three under.