16th October 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Caddie leads the way at Pecanwood
(PHOTO – Wayne du Toit; CJ du Plooy)
BROEDERSTROOM, 16 October 2017 – The second Race to Q-School saw a fantastically high standard of golf as 20 players broke par in the first round at Pecanwood Golf and Country Club on the southern banks of the Hartbeespoortdam on Monday.
Rustenburg golfer Wayne du Toit led the way with a six-under-par 66 at the Jack Nicklaus course.
With four players – including IGT Challenge Tour Order of Merit leader Estiaan Conradie – sharing second at five under and four more just a further stroke back, the week could into quite a humdinger.
Du Toit proved the most inspired man in the field.
The former Pecanwood Golf Operations manager left his day job just over three months ago for a stint on the Sunshine Tour. He started to caddie for former winner Mark Williams and the pair have since travelled from Zimbali to Sishen, via the Fish River Sun, Humewood and St Francis Links.
Du Toit put everything he has picked up over the last 12 weeks into play at his home course and the result was seven birdies, a lone drop and a one shot lead.
“It wasn’t quite what I expected at the start of the day, but I’ll take it,” said the 27-year-old. “I hoped to be in the mix, so this is great. I just felt really good out there. I hit a lot of quality shots and the putter came to the party.”
Did it surprise him that the players were tearing up the course?
“Not really,” he said. “Our greenkeeper, Mike Williams, set the course up really well, with a good balance of tough and scoring holes. The weather was good and the guys were firing at the pins. I think I counted 12 eagles.”
Du Toit said it felt great to be playing competitive golf again.
“It was quite a radical decision to take Mark’s bag, but it was time,” he said. “I want to take another stab at the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School next March and I wanted to get another perspective; I wanted to see things from the other side. And it’s been a good experience.
“We have this perception that the pros are so much better than us. They are better, but not in the way we perceive. We hit the ball just as well as they do, but they know how to deal with the pressure. They know when to switch it on and off, when to focus and when to relax. That’s where we fall short.”
The local hero believes he will need to bring his A-game over the next two rounds to stay ahead of the challenging pack.
“You got the two Conradie brothers right there and they’ve been on a winning streak, and another couple of guys who have been very consistent this season,” he said. “It will be a dog fight over the next two days. Won’t surprise me to see three or four guys in it down stretch on Wednesday.”
Conradie shares second with Jade Buitendag, Beyers Smith and Dainfern amateur Cameron Moralee, while brother Estiaan is tied for sixth with Ruan Korb, Juan Langeveld and North West amateur Theunie Bezuidenhout. Paul Boshoff completes the top 10 at three under.