21st July 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour
Kruger ties De Lange at Race to Asia Waterkloof
TSHWANE, 21 July 2014 – Pretoria’s Pieter Kruger rode a hot putter to match Brenden de Lange’s opening 67 at Waterkloof Golf Club and grab a share of the first round lead in the IGT Tour’s first Race to Asian Q-School on Monday.
De Lange offset a bogey on each nine with in seven birdies, while Kruger racked up 10 birdies to cancel two early bogeys and an expensive triple at the par-four 12th and claim a share of pole.
The pair finished one shot clear of top SA amateur, NJ Arnoldi.
The first event in the eight-tournament Race to Asian Q-School series on the country’s premier development Tour drew a strong amateur field and Arnoldi leads a group of seven amateurs that all finished in red numbers.
The Nigel golfer finished one shot ahead of Angus Ellis-Cole and two ahead of University of North Texas student Jason Roets, James du Preez and Bryn Flanagan.
Professionals Tyron McComb and Terence Boardman also finished in the mix at 70, while Coert Groenewald and Namibia’s Ruan Huysamen share 10th on one under with amateurs Leon Scheepers and Stephan Erasmus.
Kruger got going with successive birdies at the second and third, but back-to-back bogeys the fourth and fifth holes took him back to even par.
The 30-year-old Blue Valley golfer rallied with a string of three birdies to reach the turn in three under, but walked off the 12th with a costly seven.
“My second shot plugged in the greenside bunker,” Kruger said. “I tried to play it out to the right, but I didn’t get out of the trap until my third try.”
Kruger retaliated by knocking in four birdie putts on the trot and drained another at the 18th for good measure.
“The short stick was definitely on song,” he said. “I only had 26 putts, so I’ll take that any day.”
Kruger claimed a runner-up finish at the Maheking Pro-Am in June and followed with a top sixth finish at the Race to the USA Championship a week later.
Now the lanky pro is eying a podium finish in the first Race to Asian Q-School.
“All eight winners in the Race to Asian Q-School will be sponsored with return flights, transport, hotel accommodation and entry fees for the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School early next year,” he said.
“If I can just steer clear of the bunkers for the next two days, I’m in with a shot to clinch the first spot to Asia.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES
67 – Brendan de Lange, Pieter Kruger
68 – NJ Arnoldi (AMA)
69 – Angus Ellis-Cole (AMA)
70 – Jason Roets (AMA), Tyron McComb, Terence Boardman, James du Preez (AMA), Bryn Flanagan (AMA)
71 – Coert Groenewald, Ruan Huysamen NAM, Leon Scheepers (AMA), Stephan Erasmus (AMA)
72 – Keegan de Lange (AMA), Ted Hendriks, Jerry Steyn, Herman Minnie, Dwayne Coetzee, JC van Dommelen, Tjaart Van Wyk (AMA)
73 – Keegan Steyn (AMA), Jason Froneman (AMA), Antonio Rosado POR, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA), Werner Van Niekerk, Rae Mackie
74 – Willie Steyn, Duane Keun, Calvin Caldeira (AMA), Wesley Baptiste (AMA), Robert Herselman FRA
75 – David Lamprecht, Bryce Burke USA (AMA), James Searson
76 – Conway Kunneke, TJ Bekker, Jacques de Villiers, Reghard Neethling (AMA)
77 – Russel Franz, Niel Meyer (AMA)
78 – Patrick Thompson, Jacques De Villiers (AMA)
79 – Marco De Beer (AMA)
80 – Mark Fraser, Ruan van Blerk NAM, Kirsten Campbell (AMA)
81 – Christiaan Pretorius, Wayne Stroebel, CJ Levey (AMA), Eduard Van Den Berg (AMA)
82 – Justin Godfrey (AMA)
83 – Pieter Van der Linde (AMA), Julian de Wet (AMA)
84 – Shaun van Tonder
86 – Gerard van Zyl (AMA), Quintin Crause (AMA)
95 – Marna De Langen
RTD – Lean Boezaart