14th November 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Conradie closes in at Wingate Park
(PHOTO: Teagan Moore; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 14 November 2017 – Overnight leader Teagan Moore held on to pole position in Tuesday’s second round, but Order of Merit leader Estiaan Conradie is hot on his heels in the sixth Race to Q-School at Wingate Park Country Club.
On a day where warm sunshine bathed the course, a strong and constant two-club wind challenged the field, but Moore kept his bid for a maiden IGT Challenge Tour title alive with a conservative strategy.
The 24-year-old from Lynwood mixed four birdies with a lone bogey and signed for a three-under-par 69 to top a congested leaderboard on 10 under.
Conradie fired a 65 – the low round of the day – to move within striking distance, Andrew van der Knaap posted a 66 to finish just two off the pace alongside Ruan Korb (69), while five-time champion Ruan Conradie returned a 68 to finish a further shot back in tied fourth with Free State amateur Juran Dreyer, who carded 71.
Moore knows he will start the final round with a target on his back, as a further five players are within five shots of his lead.
“Estiaan made a disastrous start and still fired the low round of the day,” said Moore. “Both he and his brother Ruan have won at Wingate and it’s their home course, so I expect an attack from both of them. Andrew has also hit some form and there are a few other guys that can go low, too, like Albert Venter, who shot 67 today.
“I played pretty conservatively, and it paid off for me. The wind made it tough out there and I didn’t see the point of getting too fancy and dropping shots. The main goal was to keep myself in contention for the final round. It doesn’t matter to me what the other guys do on Wednesday; I’ll stick to my own game plan and I’ll play to beat the course, not the players.”
Conradie – five-time winner on the country’s premier golf development circuit – had a shocking start but the 20-year-old made a breath-taking comeback with a string of four birdies from the sixth to get back into the fight and finished in style with an eagle.
“I had a bit of a collapse at the start of the round,” said Conradie.
“I hit a couple of poor shots and they cost me; a poor drive at the first ended with a bogey, a poor chip at the fourth and I overshot the green after a tough lie in the greenside bunker at the fifth. I was unlucky with the bogey at the third, because I my par putt lipped the hole and stayed out.”
A run of four birdies from six to nine took Conradie to the back nine at three under..
“I’m pretty happy with the way I fought back,” he said. “I was a little apprehensive in the strong wind, but after the fourth drop at five, I took out the driver. I hit both six and seven to four feet and holed the birdie putts to stem the bleeding and two more birdies at eight and nine got me back into red numbers.
“I made some more birdies at 11, 12, 14 and 16 and I hit two great shots at the 18th to set up the eagle putt. Obviously, being my home course, I know the layout well and that played to my advantage when I decided to get a little more aggressive off the tee. I’ll probably do the same on Wednesday since the weather forecast is a little gloomy.”
The weather-interrupted first round was completed on Tuesday morning and the cut to 55 and ties fell at six-over 150.