28th July 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour

De Lange takes charge at Race to Asia Centurion

Cent28-30JulDay1 (77)(Photo – Keegan de Lange; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 28 July 2014 – Pretoria’s Keegan de Lange raced to a five-under-par 67 at Centurion Country Club to claim the first round lead at the IGT Tour’s Race to Asian Q-School on Monday.

The 17-year-old Pretoria amateur racked in seven birdies to wipe out a pair of bogeys and finished one shot clear of namesake, Brendan de Lange.

Juan Swart and Jacques de Villiers lag two shots off the pace, while Pieter Kruger, who won the first Race to Asian Q-School at Waterkloof last week, threatens just three off the pace. Unlike his peers, the fast greens at Centurion didn’t appear to bother De Lange too much.

“I enjoy playing into and putting on fast greens,” the junior golfer said. “The greens here at Centurion are particularly fast. It’s quite difficult to stop the ball, so you have to be accurate into the greens and bring a hot “It was that kind of day for me; didn’t miss many fairways and my putting was on song.”

De Lange dropped a shot at the par-three 11th when he missed the green, but birdies at the 15th, 16th and 18th took him to the turn in three under. He picked up two more birdies at the first and third, and cancelled a bogey from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker at the fourth with a chip-in birdie at the par-four fifth. A four at the par-five seventh and pars at the eighth and ninth put him at the top of the leaderboard, but the teenager didn’t realise he was leading till much later in the day.

“As a rule, I never look at the leaderboard out on the course or when I come in to sign my card,” De Lange said. “It’s just something I do so that I can keep the focus on my own game and not worry about my opponents.”

The teenager said he enjoys teeing it up the country’s premier development Tour when he has gaps in his amateur schedule. “I’m concentrating on the amateur events, but we have a long break now and the IGT Tour is great to keep your game in form,” he said. “I also really enjoy going up against the pros. They have a lot of experience and you pick up a lot of stuff on course management, especially if you can get close to the leaders.”

The youngster hasn’t given any thought yet to the possibility of winning on the Race to Asian Q-School. “If I win, I’ll have to sit down and discuss it with my parents,” he said.”I’m still in school, so I wouldn’t consider turning pro just yet. It would be fantastic, though, to get the chance to travel to the Asian Tour Qualifying School and test myself against the pros.

“But it’s early days yet, so there is no point in counting chickens just yet.”

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