24th August 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Big birds sees Minnie soar in Kyalami
JOHANNESBURG, 24 August 2015 – Michael Schutz made a brilliant start with a birdie fest at Kyalami Golf Club, but Herman Minnie trumped the Southern Cape amateur with two big birds to hit the front at the Gary Player School for Champions Academy Classic on Monday.
Minnie overcame an early bogey with two stunning eagles and four birdies for a seven-under-par 65 that steered him to the top of the first round leaderboard.
Schutz got off to a flier with seven birdies, including four in a row from the sixth hole, but the 20-year-old Knysna golfer’s hot short stick went ice cold after the turn.
After a lone bogey at 11, he closed out with seven straight pars to finish second on 66.
Fellow Gary Player School for Champions player Werner van Wyk notched an eagle and four birdies for a 68 and a share of third alongside Sunshine Ladies Tour winner, Nicole Garcia.
Garcia campaigned on the country’s premier development Tour to groom for the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in 2013 and the Wanna Be A Champion Academy showing some great form ahead of the LET’s Helsingborg Open in Sweden next week.
The Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion wiped a trio of bogeys of her card with seven birdies to finish on four under.
Minnie reversed the damage of the three-putt bogey at the second with birdies at six and eight and made a great an up-and-down birdie at 12 to get to two under.
He holed a trap-shot for eagle at the par-five 13th, boxed a six-footer for birdie at the tough par-four 16 and made par at 17 to reach the final hole at five under.
“I was trying to avoid the water trouble at 18, so I hit a hybrid off the tee,” said Minnie.
“I had 218 metres to the pin at the front and I wanted to leave it just short, but the ball rolled and settled in the fringe. The greens here run so true that if you pick the right line, you can’t go wrong and I knocked the 12-footer in for my second eagle.
“The main goal for the rest of the season is to limit the mistakes and it felt really good to sign a card with just one bogey.
“My last victory was in 2013, so most people would say a win is long overdue. For me, achieving greater consistency is a much bigger goal than winning. Too often I have two great rounds but spoil it with one bad round.
“My coach, Graham Francis, has worked out a programme for all of us at GFG Academy. It was really hectic at the start, but as I am starting to see results, I can see the benefit of all that intense practice.”
Schutz wants to try for a card at the 2016 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and moved to Gauteng late last year to campaign full-time on the IGT Tour.
His best finish to date was a tie for third in the first GPSFC Academy Classic in June, but coming back to Kyalami Golf Club, his expectations were lower this time.
“I received a new set of clubs from TaylorMade last week and I struggled with the irons on the driving range, so I had no idea how it would go,” the Simola golfer said.
“Ironically, in the last event, the putter let me down, but this time the putter was hot. I had nine one-putts on the front nine and save for the bogey at 11, I putted well on the back nine, too.
“Unfortunately I hit it dead behind the 11th green, so I had to take the hit. Hopefully the irons and putter combines nicely in the second round.”
ROUND ONE SCORES
65 – Herman Minnie
66 – Michael Schutz (AMA)
68 – Nicole Garcia, Werner Van Wyk (AMA)
70 – Simon Kruger, Vico Kuhn
71 – Bryn Flanagan, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Joubert van Eeden (AMA), Michael Ryan (AMA)
72 – CJ Levey (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius
73 – Matthew Kiewitz (AMA), Bryce McCabe, Jason Froneman, Richard Crawshay-Hall
74 – Justin Levy NLD, Sheldon Steyn ZIM, Michael Kok (AMA)
75 – Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Jacques de Villiers, Duan Nagel (AMA), Chris Erasmus, Rikus Oosthuizen (AMA), Keaton Slatter (AMA), Byron Garvie
76 – Sergio Alves (AMA), Dylan Docherty (AMA), Lloyd Herbst (AMA)
77 – Gregory Beltramo, Andrew Carlsson (AMA), Werner Lourens (AMA), Lourens Du Plessis, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL, Morne Wolmarans (AMA), Hein Dreyer (AMA)
78 – Ricky Hendler (AMA), Ricardo Towell, Matthew Adams (AMA), Carlos Arroyo (AMA), Maxime Deffontaine (AMA) BEL, Chris Haefele, Armand Azar (AMA), Tung- nan Lin (AMA) TWN, Jacques Ungerer, Amerigo Renieri (AMA), Michael Pienaar (AMA)
79 – Michael Petersen (AMA), Niel Meyer, Dwayne Coetzee, Vincent Mienie (AMA), Sean Coomer (AMA), Bonita Bredenhann NAM, Ru-Juan Lessingh (AMA), Jonty B Shelton (AMA)
80 – Chris van Tonder (AMA), Angelo Marques (AMA), Matt Bright (AMA), Nikola Uskokovic (AMA), David Lamprecht
81 – Collin Campher (AMA), Joshua Leo (AMA), Adam Baker (AMA), Ramon Rigney
82 – Michael Armstrong (AMA), Tyron Mc Comb, JP Basson (AMA)
83 – Richard Tsai (AMA)
85 – Heinrich Venter (AMA), Melchior Raath (AMA)
87 – Juan De Bruin (AMA)
88 – Barend Herbst (AMA)
90 – Lorenzo Sardoz (AMA)
91 – Wesley Maddocks (AMA)