22nd October 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour

Lupini takes share of Wingate lead at Race to Q-School

(Photo – Robbie Lupini; credit CJ du Plooy)R Lupini

JOHANNESBURG, 22 October 2013 – A commanding performance on the greens handed  Robbie Lupini a share of the lead with Coert Groenewald in the second round of the sixth IGT Tour’s Race to School at Wingate Park on Tuesday.

The Rivonia golfer was at his ball-striking best as he produced the round of the day – an excellent six-under-par 66 – to move to the head of affairs seven under 137 alongside Groenewald, who returned a 69.

Overnight leader Tyrone Ryan added a 74 to his opening 66 to finish three shots back, while former SA number one amateur Haydn Porteous, and current number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout share third on three under 141.

Porteous, who turned professional in August, carded a 70 while amateur Bezuidenhout enjoyed two birdies and endured a double bogey seven at the par-five second for his 72.

A two-time winner this season, Lupini not only collected a cheque worth R500 for the low round of the day, but has put himself in prime position for a third IGT victory.

The 31-year-old won the IGT Race to Asia event at Mooinooi in May and collected the IGT Tour Race to Q-School title at ERMP just two weeks ago. Lupini said the win in Boksburg was a major confidence booster.

“I definitely have more confidence after the win and I felt really good out there,” Lupini said.

The Sunshine Tour pro had two bogeys around the turn, but that didn’t seem to affect his form. He reeled in three birdies on each nine and dropped a long putt on an eagle at the par-five 11th.

“Apart from two poor shots at the ninth, and the three putt at the 10th, I struck the ball well and the putter was behaving,” he said. “I left a few out there, but I’m not complaining.

“I am in contention and that’s what counts. I still can’t afford to relax, but this is where you want to be at the halfway stage of the Race to Q-School Series.”

Groenewald bounced back from an opening bogey and picked up three birdies and a second bogey to turn in one under.

The 25-year-old erased a birdie at the 13th with bogey at the next hole, but romped home with a pair of birdies at the closing holes. The Roodepoort pro said keeping his focus under pressure helped him to a share of the lead.

“At the 17th I hit a gap-wedge to green, but the ball spun back and rolled into the fringe. I managed to sink the putt from 25-foot for birdie,” Groenewald explained.

“At the 18th, I hit a five-iron over green, but I hit a great chip to two feet and boxed the putt.

I’m really happy with the way I dealt with each situation on the last two holes and made it work for me. That is something that I’ve learned playing the IGT Tour. I making less mental errors and that gives me confidence.”
Although Groenewald does expect the company of a few butterflies in the final round, he is getting better at coping with the pressure.

“In this sport, like any other, you just have to get over the nerves and get on with the job,” he said. “You have to perform under pressure, because you have to play well to win.”

Since the Wingate event drew a field of 115 – the largest IGT Race to Q-School field to date – tournament director Cois du Plooy moved the cut to 70 and ties, leaving 74 players to contest the final round.

“I took the decision to move the cut, because our mission is to give our professionals and players the opportunity to gain experience,” Du Plooy said. “There is always more pressure in the final round and that is exactly what these guys need to improve.”

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; Amateurs indicated as AMA:

137 – Roberto Lupini 71 66, Coert Groenewald 68 69

140 – Tyrone Ryan 66 74

141 – Haydn Porteous 71 70, Christiaan Bezuidenhout AMA 69 72

143 – JC van Dommelen 72 71, Justin Turner 72 71, Cilliers Naude 69 74

144 – Pieter Kruger 73 71, Jacques de Villiers 72 72

145 – Dougie Meijer 72 73, Sheldon Steyn 71 74, James Searson 69 76

146 – Wayne du Toit 75 71, Aubrey Barnard 75 71, Graeme Vrugtman AMA 74 72, Phillip Kruse AMA 74 72, Jonathan Waschefort 73 73, Jerry Steyn 72 74, JC Ritchie 70 76, Hertzog Landman 68 78

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