11th November 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour
De Beer shares lead at IGT Services
PRETORIA, 11 November 2013 – Rookie professional Johan de Beer is looking for a winning result in this week’s ninth IGT Race to Q-School event ahead of the South African Open Championship qualifier that kicks off next week.
The Pretoria golfer is hovering just outside the top 100 on the current Order of Merit and is in serious danger of a return trip to Q-School, but De Beer believes a solid performance at Services Golf Club over the next two days will put him in the right frame of mind to challenge for one of the coveted SA Open spots.
De Beer got his campaign going with a nearly flawless eight-under-par 64 to claim a share of the lead with Limpopo’s CJ du Plessis. The pacesetters are two shots clear of former Sunshine Tour winner Brett Liddle and will take a three stroke advantage into the second round over Lean Boezaart and Ryan Clark.
Southern Cape golfer Andrew Light is the lone amateur in the top 10 and joined the bus at four under 68 alongside Drikus Bruyns, Deon Bredenkamp, Rae Mackie and Otto van Greuenen.
De Beer burst from the blocks with back-to-back birdies, but dropped a shot after a poor approach at the fourth. The 24-year-old retaliated just before the turn, taking two shots off the course with a sublime eagle at the ninth.
“I hit a solid drive up the fairway, but my three-wood went slightly left and ended left of the green,” he said. “I had about 30 meters to the pin, so I hit a firm chip shot. The ball bounced once and dropped down the hole. I guess I felt just a fraction of what Scott Jamieson must have felt like with that hole-in-one in Turkey on Sunday.”
De Beer collected another pair of birdies at the 12th and 13th and romped home with three successive birdies for a share of .the lead.
The former SA Boys U-19 champion left South Africa for the United States in 2011 where he picked up two Collegiate titles, before returning to South Africa to campaign on the Sunshine Tour.
“Life on Tour is a helluva lot tougher than I expected,” said De Beer, whose biggest check was worth R27,000 and change for a joint life in 36th finish at the Dimension Data Pro-Am in February.
“I never imagined November would roll around and here I would only have made four cuts made on the main Tour. But it is a steep learning curve, no doubt.”
De Beer needs a good finish on the IGT Tour to carry to the SA Open qualifiers.
“The odds are stacked against us,” he said. “There are three qualifying venues nd every course has about 150 qualifiers. We’ll be playing for something like 15 spots. So, if you’re not teeing it up in form, in focus and in command, you got no chance of getting a spot. And that will surely be the end of my season.”
Limpopo golfer Du Plessis, who carded a flawless 64 with six birdies and an eagle, is also an IGT Tour regular. Du Plessis is ranked 92nd and also on the cusp. He believes the IGT Tour has kept his season alive.
“We don’t have that many starts because there are so many of lining up to qualify for 10 spots each week,” he said. “At least the IGT Tour has given me somewhere to play between events to stay sharp, because you have to be at your best to get a spot to play.”
Meanwhile Romano Saincic did experience a little Scott Jamieson action when he aced the par-three 11th to vault to a tie for 13th alongside former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Bonita Bredenhann, among others.
FIRST ROUND SCORES (Top 20 and ties)
All competitors RSA unless otherwise indicated; amateurs = AMA
64 – CJ du Plessis, Johan de Beer
66 – Brett Liddle
67 – Lean Boezaart, Ryan Clarke
68 – Andrew Light (AM), Drikus Bruyns, Deon Bredenkamp, Rae Mackie, Otto van Greunen
69 – Nathan Waghorn, Gavin Miles
70 – Niel Meyer (AM), Coert Groenewald, Bonita Bredenhann, Rob Menzies, Romano Saincic, Pierre Viviers
71 – Conway Kunneke (AM), Cilliers Naude, Wayne Stroebel, Herman Minnie, Jerry Steyn, Pieter Kruger, Iliska Verwey, Lukas Steyn (AM), TJ Bekker, Eugene van Loggerenberg, David Lamprecht (AM)