28th April 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Lawrence lays down his marker at Eagle Canyon
JOHANNESBURG, 28 April 2015 – Nelspruit rookie Thriston Lawrence a flawless seven-under-par 65 to take pole position in the first round of the IGT Tour’s BDGA Academy Classic on Tuesday.
Pleased to come through his first competitive round at Eagle Canyon Country Club unscathed, the 18-year-old Mpumalanga native leads by one stroke fro, fellow pro Bryandrew Roelofsz and amateur Bryce Leach.
Professionals Conway Kunneke, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Duane Keun will start three strokes back at four under alongside amateur Gareth Ackers.
Lawrence moved into contention with three birdies on the front nine and was cruising along when he unexpected hit himself into trouble at the 12th.
“I hit a snap-hook and the ball flew straight into the hazard,” Lawrence said.
“I really thought that’s the end of my run but somehow I got on the green for three. When I drained a 20-footer to save par, it gave me a little kick in confidence and momentum.”
The former two-time Sanlam SA Amateur champion notched three successive birdies from the 14th and birdied the par-five 18th to set the unmatched target.
“I squeezed in two practice rounds on Friday and Monday because I’ve never played the course before, and that definitely helped,” the leader said.
“It’s a challenging layout and there are a few elevated tee shots that deceives the eye. You are thinking seven-iron when you should be hitting three-wood. If you are hitting it straight, you can definitely score; when you are hitting a little off-line, you start adding up the bogeys.”
Lawrence turned professional in June 2014 on the back of a highly successful amateur career, but struggled to adjust on the European and European Challenge Tours.
He began competing on the country’s premier development Tour in March to prepare for his first Challenge Tour start this May.
He claimed a top 20 in the Centurion Academy Classic and followed with a joint 12th finish in the Pro Squad Classic last week. The former number one ranked SA amateur was pleased to head up the field in his last start.
“A good friend of mine from Nelspruit, Anton Steenkamp, is on the bag now and we are leaving for Denmark on 10 May,” he said.
“It’s very important for me to hit the ground running when I start my first Challenge Tour event. I want to be totally match fit when we start in Denmark. There are a lot of really good players on the Challenge Tour and it’s quite different over there.
“Mental fitness absolutely vital and that’s what gives you the edge. That’s why I like competing on the IGT Tour. You definitely stay competitive, the standard is really good, and it’s nice to compete for three rounds. My game is getting sharp right now and I would love to leave South Africa on the back of a solid top five finish this week.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES:
65 – Thriston Lawrence
66 – Bryandrew Roelofsz, Bryce Leach (AMA)
68 – Gareth Akers (AMA), Conway Kunneke, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Duane Keun
69 – Devan Payne (AMA), Herman Minnie, Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Jason Froneman, Lloyd Herbst (AMA), Michael Faasen (AMA), Carrie Park (AMA)
70 – Rikus Oosthuizen (AMA), Joubert Van Eeden (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA), Bryn Flanagan, Byron Garvie, Jason Diab
71 – Pieter Kruger, Neal Hauptfleisch (AMA), Collin Campher (AMA), Michael Ryan (AMA)
72 – Juan Langeveld, Michael Palmer, Justin Levy NLD, Lourens Du Plessis, Simon Kruger (AMA), Dwayne Coetzee, Mikhail Tewary, Paul De Beer, Michael Van Hoeck (AMA) BEL
73 – Hanbo Lee, Hein Dreyer (AMA), David Ashley (AMA), Wianco Cronje (AMA), Arno Bartholoma GER, Sean Coomer (AMA), Michael Armstrong (AMA), Danie Pretorius, Matthew Adams (AMA), Wim Grobler, Tiaan Swart (AMA)
74 – Barend Herbst (AMA), Tyron Mc Comb, Jaco Mouton, Dylan O’Leary, Louwtjie J van Vuuren (AMA), Rae Mackie, Cole Dodgen (AMA)
75 – Christiaan Pretorius, Wayne du Toit, Matthew Vogel, David Lamprecht, Christian Olivier (AMA), Shalan Govender, Stephan De Beer, Tumie Motale
76 – Duan Nagel (AMA), Dylan Docherty (AMA)
77 – Fouche Botha (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Louis Botha
78 – CJ Levey (AMA), Tung-Nan Lin (AMA) TWN
79 – Michael Schutz (AMA), Armand Azar (AMA)
81 – Jadrick Fourie (AMA)
82 – Benjamin Cobbett (AMA), Michael Kok (AMA)
83 – Brendan Britten (NAM), Marais Visagie, Shane Scheepers
84 – Dylan Erasmus (AMA)
87 – Werner Lourens (AMA)