14th August 2017 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Korb takes route 66 to lead Woodhill Challenge
(PHOTO: Ruan Korb; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 14 August 2017 – Pretoria golfer Ruan Korb topped a crowded leaderboard after a flawless six-under-par 66 earned him a one shot lead in the first round of the Woodhill Challenge on Monday.
Chasing a maiden title on the IGT Challenge Tour, the 24-year-old Silver Lakes golfer added an eagle at the par five 11th to two birdies a piece on the two loops of the Woodhill Country Club course to edge out former winner Roberto Lupine for pole position.
Lupine was three under after a quartet of birdies and two bogeys, but the 34-year-old stalwart vaulted to second with an eagle-birdie finish. He leads by one from Dylan O’Leary and Kyle Barker, also hunting a second IGT Challenge Tour victory this season.
Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Ivanna Samu fired a three-under-par 69 to grab a seat in the bus at three under alongside amateurs Luke Brown and Keanu Pestana, Luke Trocado, Jade Buitendag, Estiaan Conradie and David Mofokeng from Lesotho.
Korb turned two under after birdies at the par-five third and the eighth, but he was reeling after making par at the ninth.
“I drove the back of the green and then three-putted for par, so I was really frustrated when we turned,” said Korb. “The birdie-eagle combo at 10 and 11 definitely lifted my spirits and gave my some confidence.
“I hit a good drive at 10 and left it 10 metres short of the green. I had 20 metres to the pin and I nearly holed the chip. It rolled a foot past the hole, leaving me with a tap-in birdie. At 11, my tee shot finished in the semi-rough on the left. I hit a seven-iron from 168 metres out six foot short of the flag and holed the putt for eagle.”
Korb had one more birdie on the homeward stretch, but it could have been better.
“I hit my worst tee shot of the day at the 14th and the ball finished just short of the car path,” he said. “Luckily I had an open shot to the green and I took a sand-wedge from 180 metres. The ball pitched just behind the flag, spun to five feet and I holed it for birdie.
“The 15th was a drivable par-four and I should have made a birdie, but I overshot the green with a three-wood and found the water. I was pretty happy to walk away with a par. I also had a chance for birdie at 18, but I missed a seven-footer and had to clean up for par.”
After a frustrating start to the season, Korb began consulting with renowned sport phycologist Maretha Claassen and strengthening the mental side of his game has had a positive effect on his overall performance.
In the last two months, Korb has climbed to sixth in the 2017 Money Leaders. He fired a career best nine-under-par 63 on his way to a fourth place finish Kyalami Challenge and tied for third in the Wingate Challenge in July, but the Pretoria golfer is still looking for consistency.
“I’m building more confidence week on week, but my consistency is still weak,” he said. “I’ll have two good weeks, but then I’ll have a bad round and slip outside the top 10. My goal is sub-par rounds and top five finishes as we build towards the next Qualifying School. It’s a process, though, so the biggest stumbling block is just keeping patient as I keep trying to improve.”