21st November 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Duo leads logjam at Race to Q-School Randpark
(PHOTO – Estiaan Conradie and Philip Geerts; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 21 November 2017 – Estiaan Conradie and Philip Geerts from Italy share the second lead in the seventh Race to Q-School event, but with 10 players within three shots, the pair could feel the pressure from the chasing pack in Wednesday’s final round at Randpark Golf Club.
In-form Race to Q-School Order of Merit leader Conradie conjured up two eagles to shoot to the top of the pile on eight under 136 with a superb five-under-par 67, but Geerts produced a brilliant back nine that included a string of four birdies for a 68 to grab a share of pole position.
Overnight leader Matt Bright and amateur Ruan Groenewald also shared the lead, but both golfers bogeyed the final hole to slip to a tie for third. Bright – hunting a hat-trick of titles this season – signed for 71, while Groenewald fired seven birdies to tie Conradie for the low round of the day.
Successive rounds of 69 moved Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner Nobuhle Dlamini and current IGT Challenge Tour Money Leader Ruan Conradie within striking distance at six under. The pair share fifth with rookie Zabastian de Jager, who returned a 70.
Former Sunshine Tour winner Teboho Sefatsa from the Gary Player Class of 2017, Juan Langeveld and Southern Cape rookie Jack Duthie are also in the mix. Sefatsa and Langeveld posted rounds of 68 and Duthie carded a 69 to finish a further shot back at five under.
Conradie was undoubtedly one of the favourites coming into the week.
The 20-year-old padded his tally on the country’s premier golf development circuit when he won the Randpark Challenge at the Firethorn Course in May and combined with older brother Ruan to claim the Zwartkop Betterball Challenge in September.
He backed up victory in the Race to Q-School Series opener at the Els Club Copperleaf with a fourth, a sixth and two runner-up finishes in the last five events.
Conradie started the day three shots behind Bright, but launched his charge with an eagle at the par-five third. “My tee shot veered a little left, but ran through the bunker,” said the Wanna Be A Champion golfer. “I hit a huge eight-iron out of the rough to four feet and holed the putt.
“The wind was quite strong and I went with the wrong club at the fourth. I hit driver and ended up in the bush. The fifth is usually a drivable par four, but not in today’s wind. I hit my second to seven feet, though, and boxed the putt for birdie.”
A birdie at 11 and eagle at the par-five 17th got him to eight under.
“I hit my driver slightly left and finished just off the fairway,” he said. “I hit four-iron to eight feet behind the flag and holed the putt. With the tees back and the pins tucked, the wind really made for challenging conditions. I’m in a good position, though, so hopefully I can pull it through tomorrow.”
Geerts made a birdie start, but gave the shot back at the par-four fourth.
Level at the turn, the Italian who plays out of Country Club Johannesburg racked up four birdies in a row from 10 and cancelled a bogey at 16 with a birdie finish.