16th May 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Bezuidenhout ready to box at Pecanwood
(PHOTO – Theunie Bezuidenhout; credit CJ du Plooy)
HARTEBEESPOORT DAM, 16 May 2017 – North West amateur Theunie Bezuidenhout will lead the chasing pack attempting to overhaul Roberto Lupine’s five-shot lead in the final round of the Pecanwood Challenge on Wednesday.
For a second successive day, former IGT Challenge Tour winner Lupine navigated the Jack Nicklaus-designed championship layout of Pecanwood Golf and Country Estate in 65 strokes.
The 34-year-old Country Club Johannesburg golfer cancelled a bogey at the third with a birdie at five to turn level for the day, but Lupine was all business on the back nine.
He racked up birdies at 10, 11, 15, 16 and 17 and eagled the par-five 12th for a second day running.
Sitting comfortably at the top of the pile on 14-under-par 130, Lupine is a strong candidate for victory and a return to the winner’s circle will be especially sweet after a lengthy lay-off after shoulder surgery in September last year.
However, Bezuidenhout showed a lot of pluck on Tuesday to overturn a devastating start and, if the young gun from Rustenburg can get it going early on in the final round, he might just have enough game to catch the leader.
Bezuidenhout was four off the pace at the start of round two, but drifted even further back after a double bogey at the first and bogey at the second.
“I hit a really poor drive at the first and my tee-shot disappeared into the trap,” he explained. “Then I went from bunker to bunker and eventually walked off with a seven. I hit a decent drive and approach at the second, but three-putted from nowhere.
“At that point, you make a choice. You regroup or you give up and I wasn’t ready to go home. I made a solid par at the third and I hit it really close at the fourth and boxed the putt for birdie. Then the putts just started to drop.
“I chipped it in for eagle at five, holed a 15-footer at birdie at six and hit it to six foot and holed the putt for birdie at seven. At the ninth I boxed another 15-footer for birdie and sunk a 20 foot putt at 10 to go seven under.”
And there was more to come as Bezuidenhout knocked in two more birdie putts at 12 and 15 to finish the round at nine under 135. He leads by one from Ruan Korb, who returned a 67 and is two shots clear of Wynand Dingle, who carded 68.
“It’s going to be great to play with Roberto, because he is a really experienced and Ruan and I can only gain from playing with him,” said Bezuidenhout. “It won’t be easy to catch him, so I won’t make that a priority. I’ll do my own thing, play the course and see where it leaves me.”