25th May 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Du Plessis dictates at GFG Academy Classic
TSHWANE (25 May 2015) – Limpopo’s rookie Hennie du Plessis outshone some star names in the first round of the IGT Tour’s GFG Academy Classic with a superb seven-under-par 65 at Irene Country Club on Monday.
The 2015 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School winner leads by two strokes from professionals Francois Coetzee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Toto Thimba Jnr and amateur CJ Levey.
David Lamprecht and amateur Marco De Beer are a further stroke back at four under, while amateurs Ryan Wingrove and Bartjie De Klerk tied for ninth on 69.
Sunshine Tour professional Ryan Cairns opened with a 70 that was matched by amateurs Chris van Tonder and Stephan Erasmus and professionals Andy Dill and Danie Pretorius.
Du Plessis started and finished birdie-birdie to top of the pile at the end of a good scoring day in Tshwane.
“I just played really well, especially my short game,” said the 2014 IGT Tour graduate, who also notched birdies at seven and 14 and holed out for an eagle at the par-five ninth to expunge a lone bogey at the 11th.
“I hit the ball really well and my short game was on,” said Du Plessis, who tied the course record at Centurion Country Club with an 11 under 61 on Sunday.
“I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. I had a few that didn’t go in and holed a couple of longer ones. I missed an eagle opportunity at the 17th, which was a bit of a let-down, but I was fairly happy with the way everything went.
“It’s nice to start well and hopefully I can carry on the way I started, and win this one for all the guys at the GFG Academy.”
Coetzee turned level par and reeled in five birdies on the back nine to finish within striking distance of Du Plessis.
“I wasn’t striking the ball well, but the putter was hot and I managed to scramble with a lot of up-and-downs to save par,” the TuksSport Golf Academy player said.
Levey, who broke through for a maiden IGT Tour win at the Pro Squad Classic in April, offset a brace of bogeys with eight gains, including five birdies in six holes around the turn.
Centurion Academy Classic champion Bezuidenhout also turned level after birdie-bogey combination on the front nine, but a pair of birdies at 10 and 11 gave his round some momentum.
He added a string of three birdies from the 15th to join the bus at five under alongside Thimba Jnr, who also started with back-to-back birdies and was four under after a pair of birdies around the turn. His day would have been better had it not been for a double bogey at the par-four 12th.
The former IGT Tour winner rallied with three birdies on the trop from the 15th, though, to put himself in a challenging position with 36 holes to play.
FIRST ROUND SCORES
65 – Hennie Du Plessis
67 – Francois Coetzee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, CJ Levey (AMA), Toto Thimba Jnr
68 – Marco De Beer (AMA), David Lamprecht
69 – Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Bartjie De Klerk (AMA)
70 – Chris Van Tonder (AMA), Danie Pretorius, Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Ryan Cairns ZIM, Andi Dill (AMA)
71 – Dylan Docherty (AMA), Shane Heckler (AMA), Matthew Vogel, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Joubert Van Eeden (AMA)
72 – Tyron Mc Comb, Armand Azar (AMA), Hein Dreyer (AMA), Peetie Van Der Merwe (AMA), Jandre Fullard (AMA), Louis Calitz, Louis Taylor (AMA), David Ashley (AMA), Drikus Bruyns
73 – Eddie Taylor, Christiaan Pretorius, Jacques Swarts (AMA)
74 – Waldi Potgieter (AMA), Lourens Du Plessis, Wayne Stroebel, Rhoan Gardiner, JP Schmidt (AMA), Wim Grobler, Francois van Rensburg (AMA), Matt Bright (AMA), Divan Marais (AMA), Mark Williams
75 – Slade Fick (AMA), Vincent Mienie (AMA), Michael Schutz (AMA), Patrick Thompson, Tyrone Ryan
76 – Wesley Baptiste (AMA), Jacques De Villiers (AMA), Brendan Britten NAM, Herman Minnie
77 – Quintin Crause (AMA), Benjamin Cobbett (AMA), Reynhard Reynecke (AMA), Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL, Dylan de Beer, Owen Grobler, Amerigo Renieri (AMA), Duan Nagel (AMA), Juran Dreyer (AMA)
78 – Paul Cuningham, Gustav Gouws (AMA), Brett Liddle, Norman Beggs
79 – Albert Visser (AMA), Keanan Aysen (AMA), Angelo Marques (AMA), Nico Du Buisson (AMA), Gerard Du Plooy, Carlos Arroyo (AMA), Terence Boardman
80 – Sean Graham (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA), Niel Meyer, Etzard Grimbeek (AMA)
81 – Wayne du Toit, Pedro August, Werner Lourens (AMA), Michael Kok (AMA), Michael Armstrong (AMA)
83 – Conor Thornton IRE, Juan De Bruin (AMA), Adriel Poonan (AMA)
84 – Dean Schonegevel (AMA)
86 – Tommie Brits (AMA), Matt Wollman (AMA) GER, Clayton Ackermann (AMA)
87 – Gerard van Zyl (AMA)
90 – John Hanekom (AMA)
92 – Melchior Raath (AMA)