16th February 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
England’s Downes dominates at ERMP
BOKSBURG, 16 February 2015 – 2 December 2014 – Englishman Mike Downes produced the fireworks on the back nine at ERPM Golf Club to sign for a six-under-par 66 and a one stroke lead over South African amateur Hilton Hughes in the first round of the IGT Tour’s second Summer Swing on Monday.
Gideon Pienaar and Dutchman Justin Levy share third on four under 68, with amateur trio NJ Arnoldi and Stephan Erasmus and England’s David Ashley a further stroke adrift.
Downes completed a flawless front nine and turned in three under after notching birdies at the second, fourth and eighth holes. The Manchester player birdied the 10th and parred the next two holes before he caught fire and pulled away from the chasing pack with five birdies on the trot.
“And then I went and spoiled it with a seven at the 18th,” sighed Downes, who signed off with six-under-par 66 after a triple bogey at the par-four.
“Last year during the Race to the USA, I hit a 64 in the final round but I went and bogeyed the 18th to tie for second. I was determined to take my revenge and get hold of the course early on. I was doing a pretty good job, but a wayward drive at the 18th cost me again.
“I think I pushed it just a little too much, but it was a solid round nonetheless.”
Downes, who is based at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, is determined to hit a low number, though.
“I’m determined to shoot a 63 or a 64 in the next two rounds, even if I don’t win,” he said.
“I am hunting some solid finishes over the next couple of tournaments, because I’m heading to the EuroPro Tour Qualifying School in March.
“I’m striking the ball very well at the moment, but I want a couple of top five finishes to feed the confidence. This game is all about confidence, and right now I’m feeling really good in front.”
ROUND ONE SCORES
66 – Mike Downes ENG
67 – Hilton Hughes (AMA)
68 – Gideon Pienaar, Justin Levy NED
69 – David Ashley (AMA), Stephan Erasmus (AMA), NJ Arnoldi (AMA)
70 – Bernard Hattingh (AMA), Danie Pretorius, Michael Jooste (AMA)
71 – TJ Bekker, Tertius van den Berg, Conway Kunneke, Edoardo Torrieri ITA, Kyle Lee, Andi Dill (AMA)
72 – Michael Armstrong (AMA), Fouche Botha (AMA), Philip Geerts ITA (AMA), Rikus Oosthuizen (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius, Nyasha Muyambo ZIM
73 – Matthew Adams (AMA), Lourens Du Plessis, Sean Coomer (AMA), Herman Minnie, PG Van der Linde, Jandre Fullard (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA)
74 – Bryn Flanagan, Bartjie De Klerk (AMA), Simon Kruger (AMA), Carlos Arroyo (AMA), Joubert Van Eeden (AMA)
75 – CJ Levey (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Murray Smit
76 – Michael Van Hoeck (AMA), Brendan Britten NAM, Niel Meyer
77 – Jadrick Fourie (AMA), Derryn Mitri (AMA), Dwayne Coetzee
78 – Brandon Lydon (AMA), Shane Heckler (AMA)
79 – Rhoan Gardiner, Paul Cuningham
80 – Gerard van Zyl (AMA), Duan Nagel (AMA)
81 – Neville Mitchell (AMA)
82 – Juan De Bruin (AMA), Marais Visagie, Michael Kok (AMA)
83 – Drickus Coetzer (AMA)
84 – Zarko Fabricius (AMA), Wayne Stroebel
93 – Sean Graham (AMA)
DSQ – Ricki Dembo (AMA)
WDN – Louis Taylor (AMA), Jason Ackerman (AMA)