23rd February 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Ashley ascends at Centurion Classic
TSHWANE, 23 February 2016 – Englishman David Ashley made a late charge to the top of the leaderboard in round two of the IGT Tour’s Centurion Classic with a magnificent rally over the back nine of Centurion Country Club on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old reached the turn in two under, and reeled in a trio of birdies at 10, 11 and 12 to dip five under. After catching his breath with a par at 13, Ashley collected another hat-trick of birdies at 14, 15 and 16 to move to 11-under-par 133.
Ashley will start the final round three strokes clear of Northern Ireland’s John McClean, who carded a 70, and Sheldon Steyn from Zimbabwe, who fired an equally impressive 65.
First round pacesetter Ruan Conradie returned a 71 to finish four off the pace in a tie for fourth with fellow amateurs Marco de Beer (69) and Quintin Crause (70).
It was almost exactly a year ago that the Devon golfer broke through for a maiden IGT Tour victory in the ERPM Classic, which sparked a great run for the Devon golfer.
However, one bad round at the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School shattered his dreams.
“I was in the top 30 heading into the final round, but I shot a 78 that terminated my run,” Ashley recalls.
“Although I did earn a Big Easy Tour card, it felt like the end of the line. Nine months before I won the ERPM Classic I had actually called it a day, but that victory sparked something. I had a really good season with a couple of runner-up finishes and top fives and overall, I had a very consistent season on the IGT Tour.
“I was so positive ahead of Qualifying School and I played well, but I ruined my chances with that final round. I was really fortunate that my parents took pity on me and offered to support me for one more season. But this is the last chance saloon. If I don’t make it this time, I’ll have to find a real job.”
Ashley is known for his technical approach to the game, but it was a very relaxed version who walked into the clubhouse at the end of play.
“Some guys couldn’t tell you how to hit a hook to save their lives; others know what loft and lie are, but that’s about it,” he said. “I am all about the technical side of the game, though, but the problem is that I get really hung up on the technical stuff and then I get in my own way.
“Today I decided to focus just on getting the set-up right and to let the rest happen and it was quite incredible. I was just aiming it and hitting it, and the putts dropped. This was without a doubt one of my best rounds in months and there is a lesson in that. I trusted my swing and committed to the shots. So, I guess it’s time to stop over-analysing everything and go out and win again.”