14th December 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour

Prinsloo pockets first prize at Wingate

WingateDay3 (178)(PHOTO – Jaco Prinsloo; credit CJ du Plooy)

Lali Stander

TSHWANE, 14 December 2016 – Pretoria’s Jaco Prinsloo will cram R10 000 into his Christmas stocking after he captured a two stroke victory in the final Race to Q-School series event of the season on Wednesday.

Just four weeks since the Sunshine Tour player claimed his fifth IGT Tour title in the Race to Q-School #6 at Irene, Prinsloo shot a 71 in the final round of the 11th event at Wingate Park Country Club.

He finished at 11 under 205, two shots clear of Pretoria rookie Tristen Strydom and three ahead of England’s Gregg Blainey and Italian amateur Philip Geerts, who all closed with rounds of 70.

Prinsloo slept on a two shot lead over Johary Raveloarison from Madagascar, while Strydom was four off the pace. The 27-year-old from Centurion got off to the ideal start with a par-birdie combination and extended his lead with another birdie at the fifth.

Strydom and Raveloarison also gained shots at the second, but while Raveloarison fired seven straight birdies to the turn, Strydom dropped at the fifth. Prinsloo opened the door with back-to-back bogeys at six and seven and Strydom, after a bogey at seven, responded with a pair of birdies to reduce the gap to three strokes.

“It was a bizarre day for all of us,” Prinsloo stated.

“Joe (Raveloarison) was on fire in the first round and Tristen and I went 15-under between us in the second round, but none of us got going in the final round, but no-one behind us caught fire.

“The course set up was definitely tougher than the first two days and you could see it in the scores. It was as if everyone battled and, compared to the first two days, the birdies were few and far between.

“Most of the tees were set right at the back and we played to a lot of tucked pins. There was quite a lot of wind, which made matters out there extra tricky.

“Joe struck the ball well on the front nine but he battled down the back, while it felt like Tristen and I spent the whole day punching out of the rough and making up-and-downs to save par.”

After the turn, Prinsloo dropped at 11 and Strydom bogeyed 12, but the rookie banked another brace of birdies at 12 and 13 to cut the gap to one shot.

The finish holes at Wingate Park caught a number of people out over all three rounds, but Prinsloo handled them with aplomb. Pars at 15, 16 and 17, followed by a birdie at the ultimate hole put the finishing touches on a fine victory in the last IGT Tour event of the season.

“It’s always great to come back to the IGT Tour and to walk away with a win feels great,” the GFG Academy player said.

“It’s funny, but when I just started my pro career on the IGT Tour, I use to resent the Sunshine Tour players who came to steal our money. After my first couple of months I realised that if I wanted to stop them, I had to step it up and I did. Hopefully I’ve handed that lesson down to the next generation.

“Tristen, Joe and some of the other IGT Tour boys are off to Bangkok in the New Year for the Asian Tour’s First Stage Q-School. Both of them it beautifully all week and I want to wish them and all the other boys the best of luck. You’ve all put in the hard work, so just make your swings work for you.”

The IGT Tour resumes on 16 January with the 12th tournament in the 18-event Race to Q-School Series at the Bushwillow Course at Randpark Golf Club.

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