29th August 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Birdie blitz gives Keun control at Centurion Challenge
(PHOTO – Duane Keun; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 29 August 2016 – Duane Keun put on a master class from tee to green on his way to a flawless 10-under-par 62 and the first round lead in the IGT Tour’s Centurion Challenge on Monday.
No less than 17 players broke par on a day where red numbers covered the leaderboard, but the 29-year-old Ladybrandt pro set a furious pace as he fired an eagle and eight birdies to seize a narrow one shot lead at Centurion Country Club.
Keun is in a great position to claim his a second title on the country’s premier development Tour, but he knows he will have a fight on his hands over the next two days.
North West amateur Aubrey Beckley produced a scintillating finish with five birdies in his last six holes to slot into second with a sublime 64, while in-form Ockie Strydom notched an eagle and half-a-dozen birdies to lurk two off the pace.
“Aubrey is coming off a runner-up finish in the Wingate Challenge last week and obviously in great form, and Ockie will be hungry to extend his career IGT Tour victories to a record 12 after winning four times earlier this season,” Keun said.
“They will definitely pile the pressure on, but that makes for a great fight. I like to test myself and my game under pressure, because it helps me to focus and stay in the moment. It’s what I need to prepare properly for the Sunshine Tour.”
Keun got off to a flying start with birdies at one, three six and seven and an eagle at the par-four ninth helped him reach the turn on six under par.
He added further birdies at 12, 14, 16 and 18 to finish ahead of the pack, but he felt that he let a few opportunities slip.
“I didn’t capitalize on the two par fives on the back nine, though. I missed a short eagle putt at 12 and I didn’t execute the chip shot well at 15 and missed a birdie chance there,” said the GFG Academy player.
“I hit my irons really well today and all my birdies were in the eight to 10 foot range. The eagle putt at nine was the longest putt and I hit that approach to about 25 feet.
“Overall, I’m really happy with the way I am playing, though. I’ve spent a lot of time this season working on swing changes to gain greater accuracy. It feels so great to stand on the tees and have the game and the confidence to shape the shots to put myself in the best position to score.”