13th December 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Grobler takes command at Killarney
(PHOTO – Clinton Grobler; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 13 December 2017 – Krugersdorp golfer Clinton Grobler posted a second successive round of 68 at Killarney Country Club to open up a two shot lead in the 10th tournament of the Race to Q-School Series on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Grobler had one double bogey on his card all day, and a trio of birdies over the last four holes took him straight to the top at the par-70 layout.
“I played really solid golf again today,” said Grobler. “I birdied the second and followed with six straight pars, but the ninth got me. It’s probably the toughest hole on this course. “I took three-wood and wanted to hit a slight draw, but I pulled it a little and finished in the trees.
“I hit a low snap hook, but that also went sideways and I ended up in the water that guards the front of the green. I had 100 metres to the pin after the penalty drop, but I left the shot a little short and two-putted from five metres out.”
Grobler turned one over and fired five straight pars, but luck turned at the par-five 15th.
“I made a huge nine at the 10th hole of the Bushwillow course,” said Grobler, who qualified for the R16-million tri-sanctioned Joburg Open last week. “I made a lot of birdies over the last nine holes, though, and that gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to turn a negative into a positive.
“So after the nightmare ninth, I just put my head down. I hit fairways and greens and made some good putts. The score could have been even lower, because I had a couple of lip-outs. The putter came through for me at 15 and 16, though, and it felt great to finish with a birdie.
Grobler broke through for his maiden IGT Challenge Tour title in the Lake Club Challenge last year and his best finishes this season was joint third in the Randpark Firethorn Challenge in May and a tie for sixth in the third Race to Q-School at Ruimsig in September.
“I would love to finish the season with a win, but I’m going to stick to the strategy that got me in front,” he said. “Killarney is not the kind of course where you can get aggressive or fire at the pins. It rewards good tee shots, good approaches and solid putting, so that’s the game plan.”
Grobler will have a hungry pack on his heels, not the least of which are IGT Tour winners Thriston Lawrence and Kyle Barker and Free State amateur Juran Dreyer, who shared the low round honour with a hat-trick of 66s.
Lawrence, within striking distance for a second week running, shares second with Dreyer, Pretoria amateur David Nortje and DK Kim from Korea, who registered respective rounds of 67 and 69.
Barker broke his IGT duck in the season-opening Wanderers Betterball with partner Dylan Mostert. In September he travelled to the Middle East, where he captured his second title of the season in the Mena Tour’s Golf Citizen Abu Dhabi Open.
The Randpark rookie lurks three off the pace alongside overnight leader Ariel Poonan, Gary Player Class of 2017 member Omar Sandys, multiple IGT champions Jason Roets and Tristen Strydom, and Ruan Conradie, the reigning IGT Challenge Tour Money List leader who has banked five victories on the country’s premier development golf circuit this season