24th June 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour

Clark shares lead at Race to USA Modderfontein

Mdfnt23-25JuneDay1 (208)(Photo – Ryan Clark; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 24 June 2014 – The IGT Tour has become a real beacon of hope for former Sunshine Tour regular Ryan Clark, and the Rivonia professional was simply delighted with a four-way share of Race to the USA Modderfontein lead at the end of play on Tuesday.

Clark navigated his way to a four-under-par 68 at Modderfontein Golf Club to join John McClean, Michael Scholz and Jacques de Villiers in pole position at three under 141.

The Northern Irishman reeled in six birdies on the back nine to match Clark’s target, De Villiers came home in 69 strokes, while a productive front nine with five birdies helped IGT Race to the USA Irene winner Scholz to a two under 70.

Meanwhile Otto van Greunen fired a nearly flawless 70 to finish one shot off the pace alongside Werner Van Niekerk (71), Herman Minnie (70) and amateur Calvin Caldeira, who carded a 71.

Clark, who lost his Sunshine Tour playing privileges at the end of 2010 enjoys campaigning on the country’s premier development Tour.

“I have a card for the Big Easy Tour, but because I work full-time at The ProShop in Woodmead, I can’t get away all that often to compete,” the 28-year-old said.

“I don’t have the funds to compete full time to get my card back, so until that happens, I keep my hand in it on the IGT Tour. I am far too competitive for social golf, so the IGT Tour gives me the environment I crave to stay competitive and keep my game in shape.”

Clark said he drew on the fond memories of a 2008 amateur win at Modderfontein to get himself in contention.

“I beat Dylan Frittelli here in a play-off for the Gauteng North Amateur Open title and I’ve always loved this layout,” he said. “The course suits my game and my eye. I had a really solid round, too.”

Clark knocked in four straight birdies from the second and cancelled a three-putt bogey at the sixth with a birdie at the par-four eighth. He traded a bogey at the 12th for a birdie at the closing hole.

“Although I had three three-putts, the putter was on song and if I could putt this way all the time, I would die a happy man.

“I didn’t give myself enough chances on the back nine, but I’m still quite contend with how I came through the round. It’s nice to be in contention and it’s going to be interesting to see how I handle the pressure of playing in the lead in the final round.

“No matter how it pans out, though, it’s just great to be competing.”

Meanwhile Kirsten Campbell clocked a six-iron from 145 meters for an ace at the par-three sixth.

The hole-in-one helped the Sunshine Ladies Tour regular, her second round 75 was still too expensive and the cut, set at 152, left only Francesca Cuturi, who carded rounds of 73 and 76, in the line-up for the final round.

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