25th November 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Red-hot Burke powers to 2nd successive 67 to claim Irene win

Amateur Christiaan Burke bogeyed the first hole of the final round of the Big Easy IGT Tour Chase To the Final at Irene Country Club but bounced back spectacularly as his five-under-par 67 earned him a two-shot win over Kyle De Beer on Wednesday.

Both players entered the final round as co-leaders at 13-under-par after 36 holes of play, with Burke having slept on the lead from day one, after some brilliant golf at the wind-affected Irene course.

“The wind started to come up on our back nine that made it a bit tricky,” said Burke after his win, “but it was still fun. I was just playing my own game and focusing on every shot and didn’t really think about the other guys.”

Burke shrugged off that birdie on the first hole with back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes. De Beer had made two pars and a bogey after three holes while Casey Jarvis was two-under after three holes. Without dropping a short in the next five holes, Burke navigated the Irene layout with discipline and poise until he made further gains with a birdie on the par-five ninth.

He made three more birdies on the back nine to total 18-under for the week and claim a one-stroke win over a very competitive De Beer who gave a solid account of himself.

“I knew they (De Beer and Casey Jarvis) needed to make birdies to catch me, so I just played for pars and let the birdies come by on their own,” Burke added. “So, I just focused on every shot and tried not to make silly mistakes and just play well fairway to green. The course set-up was great today, with good flags, so it was fun.

“This win means a lot to me, especially going into next week; the SA Open because it has given me a lot of confidence. I’m really looking forward to it”

De Beer didn’t play badly at all, and, had it not been for some beautiful golf by Burke, he probably would have walked away with this one. The bogey he made on the par-five second was his only drop of the round en route to a three-under 69. He made his gains on the ninth, 10th, 15th and 18th.

Jarvis was the biggest mover of the day, threatening to even topple Burke from the summit. The State Mines player’s six-under-par 66 final round was clinical and blemish-free, catapulting him to solo third on the leaderboard at 14-under-par and two shots behind De Beer.

Ricky Hendler’s 10-under-par total means he finishes fourth this week while Michael Kok solidified his spot in the top three players on this circuit with a fifth-place finish this week, on nine-under.

19th November 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Eagle on 18 gives Lambrechts the win at Blue Valley

Erhard Lambrechts made an eagle on the final hole on Wednesday to close out a victory in the Big Easy IGT Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour Play Off #2 at Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate.

Lambrechts closed with a five-under-par 67 to reach 15-under-par for the 54-hole tournament, giving him a two-stroke margin over runner-up Vaughn Groenewald who closed with a two-under-par 70. A gaping four shots further back were James Kamte and Franklin Manchest on nine-under after rounds of 71 and 76 respectively.

“I made things difficult for myself at the end there,” said Lambrechts, who made a bogey on the 17th, while Van Deventer made birdie in a two-shot swing which saw the pair level going into the final hole. “It was a three-putt bogey on 17, and that came in a week where I started off making everything I looked at in the first round.

“I had started striking the ball better after the first round to go with my putting, and I hit a good drive down the 18th, and hit my approach to about 15 feet. Vaughn also was on for two, and had a look at eagle, but he put his first putt about four feet past. That meant I knew I had to make mine if I wanted to avoid a play-off, and I managed to sink it.”

Groenewald missed his return putt for birdie, but, at that stage, it was academic and affected only the margin by which Lambrechts won.

The victory saw him climb into second place on the Road to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with just the final play-off event scheduled for December 8 at Centurion Country Club. The top six players on the Order of Merit will earn their Sunshine Tour cards, and with the points up for grabs in that final event being boosted exponentially higher, none of the current top six can be entirely sure of retaining their places.

“I’m fairly sure I should win my card,” said Lambrechts, “but with something like 30,000 points for the winner in the last tournament, I am pleased that my game is in such good shape and that I withstood the pressure in the final round today.”

Ian Snyman still leads the Order of Merit, and Kyle McClatchie is down to third. McClatchie closed with a two-under 70 to go to five-under for the tournament and a share of 12th, and Snyman fought his way to a one-over 73, a total of four-under and a share of 16th.

10th November 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Snyman charges to snatch play-off win at State Mines

It was a clash of the titans on Wednesday in the final round of the Big Easy IGT Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour Play Off #1 at State Mines as Ian Snyman came from behind to win the title in a play-off.

It was the fifth victory of the year for Snyman – he also won the Pro-Am at Riviera-on-Vaal in September – as he carded a bogey-free six-under-par 66 to haul in Kyle McClatchie, who has won five times himself. The pair finished on 15-under-par after McClatchie closed with a bogey-free 69 which was not enough to keep him in sole possession of the lead he held from the first round.

“I knew Kyle wasn’t going to make any mistakes, so I had to charge hard,” said Snyman, who drew level with McClatchie for the first time with a birdie on the 10th in regulation. McClatchie regained the lead with a birdie on 11, and, when he was unable to birdie the final par-five, the 15th, Snyman drew level again with a birdie there.

“We both missed putts on the 18th in regulation play,” said Snyman, “but then on the first extra hole, my putter, which had got me into a position to win through the final two days, co-operated again, and I drained a 15-metre putt from the middle of the green for birdie, while Kyle had two metres left for his par after getting out of a greenside bunker.”

The pair has now pulled clear at the top of the Road to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, with Snyman starting to build a lead that is substantial but not unassailable with the number of points left in the remaining two play-off events. So much so that he will dash out of the country to play in his first Asian Tour event, the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship, on November 25, and then race back in time to tee off in the final play-off event at Centurion Country Club on December 8.

“I’m so excited to be playing my first Asian Tour event after waiting for so long through the COVID-19 disruptions,” said Snyman, “but I’m also very keen to finish top of the Order of Merit and secure my Sunshine Tour card as well.” The top six players after the final event will win their playing privileges.

Currently in third on that list is Ryan van Velzen, who finished fourth at State Mines on nine-under, one stroke behind Delano Kotze who is in 35th on the Order of Merit. Erhard Lambrechts is in fourth, and he finished in a share of fifth at State Mines with Luke Trocado, Ryan Tipping and Herman Loubser. Loubser is making a determined charge towards the top six on the Order of Merit, and is in eighth after this week’s tournament.

For now, Snyman is basking in another win, and is anticipating yet another challenge from McClatchie.

| IGT Challenge Tour

O’Riley grabs Road to Sunshine Tour win at Modderfontein

Dean O’Riley overcame an early bogey on Thursday and then cruised his way to a one-shot victory with a closing five-under 67 in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #18 at Modderfontein Golf Club.

Although he started with a birdie on the opening hole, O’Riley dropped a shot on the third in his quest for victory after he slipped off the pace in the second round with a two-over 74. But he stayed resolute under the pressure, and two more birdies on the front nine, together with two on the homeward nine, saw him home ahead of Carlo Heunis and second-round leader Gregory Mackay.

The victory catapulted the former Sunshine Tour professional and former golf director at Vaal de Grace into 31st on the Road to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, a jump of 38 places, and his form sets him up nicely ahead of the three-tournament play-off series. When the play-offs are done and dusted, the top six will earn their Sunshine Tour cards.

O’Riley’s 67 was the joint low round of the day, matched by Ian Snyman who came home in a share of fourth place on eight-under for the tournament, two shots off the lead. That kept Snyman in top spot on the Order of Merit as he seeks to add Sunshine Tour status to his Asian Tour card. Snyman shared fourth with Kyle McClatchie, who continues his good form and is in third place on the Order of Merit.

The other four players currently in the top six – Ryan van Velzen, Erhard Lambrechts, Therion Nel and Vaughn van Deventer – all finished inside the top 20. Mackay climbed into seventh place with his runner-up finish.

31st October 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Birdie binge sees Jarvis home at Centurion

Casey Jarvis went on a birdie binge around the turn of his final round on Wednesday of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour #36 at Centurion Country Club to set up a one-stroke victory in the 54-hole tournament.

Jarvis, who won the Freddie Tait Trophy for the leading amateur at the South African Open Championship last December, made seven birdies in a row from the sixth to the 12th to pull clear of Kyle McClatchie with whom he shared the lead after 36 holes. That gave him the luxury of being able to survive bogeys on 16 and 18, and his 17-under-par total after his six-under 66 closing effort was enough to hold off McClatchie and his 67.

Before Jarvis went on his birdie blitz, he had made a birdie on the first and a bogey on the second. He followed that start with three pars in a row, and then he set about his thrilling burst. He turned in 32, already one ahead of McClatchie, and he was two clear after the final three birdies in his run up to the 12th. McClatchie cut the gap to one with a birdie on 13 while Jarvis made par, but then Jarvis pushed it to three when he birdied 14 while McClatchie made bogey. Another bogey on 15 for the pursuer meant Jarvis could take his foot off the pedal, and, although McClatchie made a birdie on 17 between Jarvis’ closing bogeys, it was too little too late.

It was Jarvis’ fourth title since August last year, to go with an astonishing 13 other top-10s.

Jarvis and McClatchie opened a big gap on the rest of the field, with amateur Jordan Duminy and Michael Kok finishing in a share of third on eight-under-par. Duminy closed with a 65 and Kok had a level-par 72. Keelan van Wyk was in fifth on six-under after closing with a one-under 71.

McClatchie stays on top of the Chase to the Sunshine Tour points list, with Kok in second, but Jarvis climbs into third. At the end of the season, the top three players will have earned their Sunshine Tour cards.

16th October 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

McClatchie wins again with victory at Akasia

Kyle McClatchie eagled the eighth hole on Wednesday which put the seal on his victory in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Chase to the Sunshine Tour #35 at Akasia Golf Club.

McClatchie carded a four-under-par 68 to go to eight-under for the tournament. That gave him a one-stroke victory over Herman Loubser, Ryan Tipping and Franklin Manchest. Sentanio Minnie and Michael Kok were in a share of fifth place, one shot further back on four-under for the 54-hole tournament.

“I chipped it in from just short of the green,” said McClatchie of the eagle which took him to eight-under and the lead which he never relinquished. “It was a good thing, because I wasn’t putting too well, so it took the putter out of the equation.”

He had chances to go further ahead on his homeward nine, but he was unable to make any birdies. “It was difficult with the putter no co-operating,” McClatchie said, “and I was disappointed to not make birdies on the three par-fives on the second nine. But I was pleased to get the job done with all those guys chasing me.”

It was McClatchie’s fourth victory of the year, and his fifth of the season since he won his first back in October last year at State Mines. It’s also his second inside the last month after he won at ERPM on September 13. “It’s good to have all the hard work paying off towards the end of the season,” he said. “It almost feels as if it counts more, and, of course, having form ahead of the Chase to the Sunshine Tour Final at Irene on November 22 is very valuable.”

McClatchie heads the rankings on the Chase to the Sunshine Tour, ahead of Kok in second and Leon Vorster in third. The top three players after the final will earn their Sunshine Tour cards.

3rd October 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Anderson blows by Services field with closing 65 for victory

Amateur Noel Anderson carded a closing round of seven-under-par 65 on Wednesday to run out a two-stroke winner in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #15 at Services Golf Club.

Anderson, who spent four years at a Division II college in the United States, Flagler in Florida, but only resumed competitive golf with any kind of commitment about six months ago, made an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys to head off the challenge of Therion Nel, Vaughn van Deventer and overnight leader Erhard Lambrechts by two shots.

“I was actually quite calm about everything, considering I’ve never been in this kind of position before,” said Anderson. “I mean, my hands weren’t shaking, or anything. I really pretty much kept concentrating on what I was doing, and then, when I got to the last hole, I saw that I had a two-shot lead, and that made me feel pretty good.”

He got off to a flyer in the final round, with a birdie on the first and an eagle on the second. He followed his next gain for the day with his first bogey on the sixth, but he was back on track with another birdie on nine to turn in four-under. Two more birdie-putts dropped on 11 and 12. A bogey on 14 could have made him nervous, but, instead, he followed it with birdies on 15 and 16 to get two shots ahead, which was where he stayed.

“I put a new putter in play,” said Anderson, “and that made a big difference. I’ve missed quite a few cuts recently, and it’s only by grinding and grinding and grinding that I’ve been able to put myself in a position when I can think of trying to win my Sunshine Tour card.”

That’s his immediate goal, and, with two more tournaments in the series, he’s heading closer to the top 30 who will contest the three-tournament play-off series. The top six players from their will win the Sunshine Tour playing privileges.

He brings a maturity to this chase, and an acceptance that there is no substitute for hard work, and then trying and trying again. “This win is great,” he said. “It puts me in a better position to try and win my card, and it has shown me that I’m able to handle the pressure.”

He can afford to feel that way. With the quality of the opposition he left in his wake – the three runners-up, as well as the likes of Herman Loubser in sixth and Ian Snyman in ninth – he can be sure he’s doing something right.

23rd September 2021 | IGT Challenge Tour

Snyman holds it together for wire-to-wire win at Riviera on Vaal

He was made to work hard for his victory on Wednesday, but eventually Ian Snyman turned out to be a wire-to-wire winner in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #15 at Riviera on Vaal.

Snyman carded a closing level-par 72 to go with his first two rounds of five-under 67 each, and that gave him a one-stroke edge over Michael Kok, who closed with a four-under 68. Herman Loubser was third after his final-round 67 put him on eight-under for the tournament and two off the lead. Matthew Rushton and Michael-James Steyn rounded out the top five with totals of seven-under.

After he had played so well in the first two rounds, it was a bit of a shock to his system when Snyman made bogeys on one and four in the final round. “I saw some places on the golf course that I hadn’t seen before,” he laughed. “And in the first two rounds, if I missed any greens, I was never more than a couple of inches off. Today, I had to chip, and with some of the lies I got around the greens, that wasn’t easy.”

But for all that, Snyman stayed calm as Kok and Loubser, in particular, put the squeeze on him. But with no-one towards the top of the leaderboard able to keep at least one bogey off the card, Snyman was able to put together what turned out to be a winning run of consecutive birdies on six and seven, and, when he followed that with an eagle on eight, he was able to feel that he could win the thing.

“I hit a good drive down the middle of wight,” said Snyman, “and I hit a long eight-iron in to the green. I actually hit it about 15 metres longer than usual, probably because of adrenalin, and I had about 13 metres to the hole. I read the line of the putt perfectly, and it went in.”

He followed that with two good up-and-downs for par on the next two holes, but he followed those with what he called two soft bogeys. But he kept himself together and made par all the way home, including one on 18, where he had dropped a shot in each of the first two rounds. “I’m glad I got my revenge on 18,” he laughed.

But more than that, he will have got the experience of holding together what looked like an increasingly fragile lead while under the gun in the final round of the tournament. That is worth a lot in the context of his career, which may be heading to Asia with the news that that circuit is possibly opening up again in November, and on which he has status.

| IGT Challenge Tour

Win for McClatchie at ERPM brings him 3rd title for 2021

Kyle McClatchie won his third Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour title on Wednesday when he took the Chase to the Sunshine Tour #34 by three shots from his nearest challenger at ERPM Golf Club.

It was a sprint to the finish line that took McClatchie clear, as he eagled the 13th, and made birdies on 15, 17 and 18 to finish off with a three-under-par 69. Runner-up was Leon Vorster after he closed with a one-under 71 to be nine-under for the tournament, and Keelan van Wyk finished third after his closing 69 took him to seven-under, five behind McClatchie.

It was the eagle on 13 which was the turning point for McClatchie, as he’d made two birdies and four bogeys up to that point. “It was a tough day out there up to that point, with swirling wind making things difficult,” he said, “and on 13, I finally had the wind behind me. I got my drive out there, and I only had 74 in, so it was a lob wedge to 15 feet and I made the putt.

“It was a good way to break out the crush at the top of the leaderboard, and it was also a good way to finish things off. It was important to hang in while I wasn’t playing particularly good golf, but it helped knowing that everyone was struggling in the wind,” he added.

The first bogey came early for McClatchie, on the second, and, while he made birdies on six and seven, he dropped another shot on nine. Two more bogeys after the turn on 10 and 12 put the cat firmly among the pigeons, but 13 lay ahead, and with it, the start of his charge for home.

“It’s good to have won a third time this year,” he said, “and especially good to have got it done at this time of the year, where it counts ahead of the play-offs and the final, and there’s so much at stake.”

He’s currently second on the Chase to the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and the top three when all is done and dusted will get their Sunshine Tour cards. McClatchie has had one already, and is very keen to get it back. “I know that I can deal with the challenges,” he said, “and I know that staying patient when things aren’t going well is part of what needs to be done.

“I’m just pleased that I did exactly that today.”

| IGT Challenge Tour

Kok wins 3rd title with play-off win at Pecanwood

Michael Kok won his third Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour title on Wednesday on the first extra hole in a sudden-death play-off after he and Herman Loubser were all tied up at seven-under-par in regulation play in the Chase to the Sunshine Tour #33 at Pecanwood Golf Estate.

Kok birdied the 17th to draw level with Loubser who had led throughout, after both players had struggled on the front nine, and then, after each made par on the closing hole, they went off down number 18 one more time. This time, Kok made birdie to Loubser’s par, and that gave him the win after a long period where his hot early season form seemed to have deserted him.

“Actually, 17 was the turning point for me today,” said Kok. “It’s a long par-three, about 210 metres, and I saw Herman get it wrong off the tee with a four-iron. So I took a gamble, and hit a two-iron in, trying to use a big cut. And it came off perfectly, with my ball ending up five feet from the pin for me to make birdie and tie things up.”

The opening nine gave both players headaches as they pushed each other for the win: Kok made a double-bogey seven on the seventh and bogeys on one, three and nine. Loubser made two doubles, on the par-four sixth and the par-three eighth, as well as a bogey on the first. But Kok made three birdies to Loubser’s two, and that gave him the impetus to push for victory down the back nine.

They exchanged birdies on the 10th, and then Kok drew level for the lead with a birdie on 11. It was par for par after that until Loubser hit the front again with a birdie on the par-four 15th. Then came the fateful 17th.

“The course really seemed to be playing difficult today,” said Kok. “I couldn’t tell you what it was, but thank goodness I was putting well, especially on that back nine.”

His was one of only three scores under par in the final round, his one-under 71 one more than the two-under 70 from Ryan Tipping which gave him fourth place on four-under for the tournament. That was one behind Kyle McClatchie in third, who matched Kok’s one-under 71 in the closing round.

Kok last won in January, and since then has missed nine cuts. But the win this week has him at the top of the table in the Chase to the Sunshine Tour, and well on his way to earning his Sunshine Tour card.

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