6th September 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
New putter sets Grobler on positive odyssey
(PHOTO – Clinton Grobler; credit CJ du Plooy)
BENONI, 6 September 2016 – Clinton Grobler just wants to keep his new putter firing after he seized pole position in the second round of the IGT Tour’s Lake Club Challenge on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old from Krugersdorp braved blustery conditions at The Lake Club Benoni to card a one-under-par 71 for a two shot lead at six under 138 over Duane Keun and overnight leader Martin Rohwer.
Grobler completed his three-year Teaching Diploma with the PGA of South Africa in May and made a fast start on the country’s premier development Tour with a couple of top 15 finishes and a tie for fourth at the CMR Challenge.
“But then it was downhill all the way in my last six starts,” said Grobler. “I was still striking the ball well, but almost every round was a series of three-putts.
“My mentor is Ruan de Smidt from my home club, who has won a couple of times on the Sunshine Tour winner. He is helping me to prepare for Q-School and he said that negativity is the worst thing to take on the golf course.
“After I shot 82 in the first round of the Centurion Challenge last week, I decided to dump the putter and I switched to an Odyssey Tank. The impact was almost immediate. I still missed the cut by one, but I shot 71 in the second round and I knew I was on the right track.
“Yesterday I had 26 putts and today 31; it’s been weeks since I’ve putted this well. The weight and the feel of this putter is just a great fit for me. I feel the speed and lines a lot better and that positive energy feeds to the rest of my game. I made three bogeys off three bad drives today, but I kept positive because I felt in control on the greens again.”
Grobler began the second round two off the pace from Rohwer and three strokes ahead of Keun.
The overnight leader kept control with a flawless run on the front nine that included a lone birdie at the par five third, while Grobler notched a trio of birdies at three, four and five to stay in touch and Keun put himself in the mix with four birdies in the first seven holes.
However, a drop from Grobber at six and back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine from Keun meant Rohwer still held the reigns as the trio started the back nine.
Grobber dropped further shots at 11 and 14, but the lead swung his way as Rohwer surrendered four shots and Keun interrupted a run of four pars with a bogey at 14.
The tournament turned in Grobler’s favour when he drilled a pin-point gap-wedge at the par-three 16th to two feet and he boxed the birdie putt. Rohwer parred the last two holes for a 75 and Keun birdied 18 for a 70 to share second at four under.
They pair finished three strokes ahead of amateur duo Chris Wicks and Tristen Strydom, the last two players to finish in red numbers. Wickes signed for a 72 and Strydom, already a winner this season, rocketed from joint 15th to a tie for fourth, courtesy of a four under 68 low round of the day.