30th May 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour

Moolman motors to Waterkloof Challenge lead


(PHOTO – Pieter Moolman; credit Lee Roux)

TSHWANE, 30 May 2017 – If birdies are the best remedy to restore a golfer’s sagging self-assurance, then a flock of birdies on day two of the IGT Challenge Tour’s Waterkloof Challenge will certainly spark a revival of confidence in Benoni professional Pieter Moolman.

The 26-year-old from Benoni Lake Country Club turned three under and racked up six birdies on the back nine at Waterkloof Country Club – with five of those coming over his last six holes – to charge up the leaderboard with a sparkling eight-under-par 64 on Tuesday.

With the sun splitting the skies over Tshwane, Moolman set the clubhouse target at 10 under 134.

He holds a one shot lead over Ruan Conradie and Jason Roets and leads by two from Kenyan amateur Mohid Mediratta, Justin Turner and Ruan Korb.

Five off the pace at the start of the second round, Moolman burst from the blocks with a birdie-birdie start and added a gain at the par-four fifth.

He interrupted a run of five birdies from 10 with a solitary drop at 12 and finished off in style with back-to-back birdies to record the low round of the day.

“It’s amazing what a bit of confidence on the greens can do,” said Moolman. “I lost my Sunshine Tour card at the end of 2015 and tried to fight my way back to the main circuit via the Big Easy Tour last year, but the confidence just wasn’t there.

“The problem wasn’t the putting stroke or pace. I just couldn’t read the greens. That’s a kill shot for anyone trying to make it in the pro ranks. The moment you doubt yourself on the dance floor, that lack of confidence leaks to the rest of your game.

“I’ve been working intensively with Emile Steyn, the short game coach at HPC Golf Academy and it feels like I’m slowly turning a corner. I feel like I’m gaining back the form that got me on the Sunshine Tour in 2012.”

Moolman tied for fifth in the Killarney Challenge in April and notched a top 10 finish at State Mines in early May, but he was disappointed to slip outside the top 10 at last week’s Randpark Firethorn Challenge.

“I played nicely in the second round to move towards the leaders, but slipped to joint 18th after shooting 75 in the last round,” he said. “You have to take it on the chin when you’re game is a work in progress.

“I’ve been striking the ball really well in the last couple of months, but today I putted nicely, too and that’s the big difference. Most of my putts were inside eight feet. I hit 17 greens and had just 29 putts. I nearly holed my second at the 11th and almost aced the 15th. I’m putting myself close, but the confidence is there on the putting surface and that’s made all the difference.”

Conradie from Wingate Park carded a 69, while Roets from Eikenhof put himself in contention for a second time this May with a four under 68.

Mediratta shot a sublime 65 to finish two shots back in joint fourth with former Sunshine Tour player Justin Turner and Ruan Korb, who both posted rounds of 69.

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