10th May 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Haig leads logjam at Houghton
JOHANNESBURG, 10 May 2016 – Just two weeks since their tussle for glory at the ERPM Challenge, Anton Haig and Carrie Park were at it again in round two of the IGT Tour’s Houghton Challenge on Tuesday.
Haig produced two eagles on his way to a flawless nine-under-par 63 that rocketed the 29-year-old into pole position at seven under 137, while Park blitzed the championship layout at Houghton Golf Club in 67 strokes to finish just one shot off the pace.
Two weeks ago Haig beat Park to the finish line in a two-horse race, but the Haig-Park show will have a lot more contestants this time around.
Simon Kruger returned a second successive 69 to tie Park for second, while Englishman David Ashley and Lejan Lewthwaite are within striking distance at five under. Ashley, a former IGT Tour winner, returned a 67 and the Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie blistered the course in 65 strokes.
With a quartet of Sunshine Tour players – Russel Franz (69), Breyten Meyer (68), CJ du Plessis (69) and former winner Heinrich Bruiners (70) – skulking at four under, Haig predicts an epic battle for victory in the final round.
“I think it’s going to be a dogfight,” Haig said. “I’m grateful that I have a one shot cushion, but I don’t know how much it will help. A leaderboard logjam like this means it will be a fight to the end. It will come down to the guy or girl who wants it the most and produces the shots to win it.”
The former European Tour champion dipped into red numbers with birdies at one and six and an eagle at the par five third. He turned four under and pushed his way to the top with three more gains at 11, 16 and 18 and a chip-in eagle three at 15.
“I had a shocker in the first round, so I really had to kick myself up a gear to get going,” Haig said. “I made a good start with the eight-footer for birdie at the first. The eagle at three just gave me that booster of momentum I needed and I holed another eight-footer for birdie at six.
“I hit it pretty close all day, and I chipped in at 15 and 18. I was striking the ball so much better and now I’m really up for the final round. It’s going to be great to be in a tight fight. Irrespective of whether I win or not, it’s great to be in this position.”
Park shot career best rounds of 63, 69 and 66 in the ERPM Challenge and showed that same form with five birdies on the front nine. On the back nine she interrupted a string of pars with a lone bogey at 12 but offset the damage with birdie at the par four 17.
The 19-year-old South Korean is relishing the chance to take another shot at a maiden IGT Tour title.
“I was a little disappointed not to produce the same numbers in last week’s CMR Classic,” said Park. “Still, I tied for 13th, so it wasn’t all bad. But it nice to shoot low numbers again this week and to have another opportunity to play in the final group.
“The more I can be in contention, the more I can learn to deal with the pressure. I’m sure that with experience, the win will eventually come. The key is just to put myself in a position to challenge.”