19th September 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour

Korb poised to chuck monkey at Ebotse

(PHOTO: Ruan Korb; credit CJ du Plooy)

JOHANNESBURG, 19 September 2017 – Overnight leader Ruan Korb is poised for a first IGT Challenge Tour victory after pulling away from the chasing pack in the second round of the Ebotse Challenge on Tuesday.

“I don’t want to hear the words ‘maiden win’; I just want to get on with it,” said the 24-year-old Pretoria golfer who opened up a four shot lead over Roberto Lupini on nine under with a four-under-par 68 at the Ebotse Links layout.

“Of course I’d like to send the monkey to China, but that’s not the main focus. I’ve been here before this season. A trophy would be nice, but consistency is first prize. Trophies won’t get me through the qualifiers on the Sunshine Tour; sub-par rounds will.”

Korb began the second round with a one shot lead over Lupini, a two-time winner since his comeback from surgery in May.

“I didn’t have a great start,” said Korb. “I double bogeyed the first and dropped the third. I ran late duo to traffic and I didn’t have time to get to the rage. I went with a four-iron, rather than the driver off the first and pulled it into the long grass.

“I found the ball and it came out great and shot straight across the fairway into the thick stuff on the other side. I got it back into the fairway, hit a gap-wedge on the green, but missed the bogey putt.”

Korb pulled is driver at the third, left his approach short and failed to up-and-down for par, but he righted the ailing ship nicely with a run of four birdies from the fifth.

“I two-putted from the fringe at five to start the comeback,” said Korb. “It pitched behind the flag at six, rolled to 13 feet and I boxed the putt. At seven I went the risky route with the driver, but I hit it great and it flew it down the middle.

“I wanted to hit a knock-down eight-iron, but the wind pushed the ball off-line. I chipped it to six feet and knocked it in the hole. I hit a sand-wedge pin high right to 15 feet at the eighth and got a good read on the putt from Tokkie (van den Berg) to sink that one, as well.”

Korb bogeyed nine, but made a superb eagle at the tough par-five 12th and racked up further gains at 14, 16 and 18 to offset a final bogey at 16.

“I was so happy about that eagle,” he said. “It’s such a tough hole. I hit a great tee shot and had 231 metres to the flag. I was in-between clubs because the approach shot was into the wind. I went with a low four-iron and the ball landed pin-high right and on the fringe. It left me with a 15 foot, downhill slider, and I got just the right stroke on it.

“Unfortunately my tee shot at 16 got caught in the lip of the fairway bunker. It was impossible to get out and I dropped there, but made up for it with a two-putt birdie at 18. Overall, I’m was happy. Two sub-par rounds was what I was targeting. My strategy tomorrow will be exactly the same. I’m not going to play defensively just because I have a four shot lead.”

Lupine went around in 71 strokes and amateur Ruhan van Dijk carded 70 to finish a further stroke back. Maritz Wessels finished in fourth at three under after a 72, and Teboho Sefatsa carded a 72 to close out the top five at two-under.

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