9th November 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour

Prinsloo captures Race to Q-School #6 in extra time

IreneDay3 (120)(PHOTO – Jaco Prinsloo; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 9 November 2016 – It was a little more work than he anticipated, but the result was the one Sunshine Tour campaigner Jaco Prinsloo was hoping for. The Centurion player squandered a two-stroke lead early in the final round, but came back to triumph in a playoff over NJ Arnoldi in the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School #6 on Wednesday.

Arnoldi produced a 69 in very windy conditions at Irene Country Club to set the clubhouse target at eight-under-par 208.

Prinsloo, at six under after a bogey at 16, needed two shots just to get into the playoff, but for a third successive day, the 27-year-old KwaZulu-Natal native closed with back-to-back birdies to force the tournament into extra time with an even-par 72.

The pair halved the par-four first in pars and they were still deadlocked after pars at the eighth.

Prinsloo conjured up a superb up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the ninth for a birdie to capture his fourth victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit.

“NJ and I both hit drivers at the ninth, but his ball came to rest very close to a fairway bunker,” Prinsloo said. “He had a really awkward stance and had to lay up, so I tried to go for the green but pulled a 3-iron into the bunker short of the green.

“NJ hit his third over the green and I knew I had to make the trap-shot count. I splashed out to six feet and holed the putt for the win.”

The GFG Academy player was delighted with the result shortly before the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.

“It was a real scramble, but I’m so pleased that I pulled it through,” he said. “I had a two week break and I wasn’t sure how I’d do this week, but I managed to lead from start to finish and nail it in the end. “The conditions were really trying and the wind gusted stronger than any other day this week. I missed a few fairways and greens, but I saved a lot of pars with the putter and that gives me a lot of confidence for Cape Town.”

After a birdie start to the final round, Prinsloo dropped shots at five and 10 and bogeyed the par-three 16th before finishing with successive birdies.

“I misjudged the wind at the 16th and overshot the green,” he said. “I left the first chip short and then chipped into the fringe, but I boxed the 10-footer to limit the damage to just one shot. Going down the last two holes, I knew I needed a birdie-birdie finish to at least have a chance.

“Those two holes were kind to me all week and they didn’t disappoint. It really enjoyed going great to head-to-head with NJ in the play-off. He is a stand-up guy and always up for a fight. He told me he is heading to Asia in January for the Second Stage Qualifier for the Asian Tour. I wish him well and I hope he has a really great week out there.”

Ruhan van Dijk from Kempton Park banked R500 for producing the low round of the day, a five under 67 that saw the 19-year-old finish in a tie for third at six under 210 with fellow amateur Stephan Erasmus, who returned a 71.

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