8th November 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Prinsloo pockets Irene lead
(Jaco Prinsloo; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 8 November 2016 – Sunshine Tour campaigner Jaco Prinsloo enjoyed another strong finish at Irene Country Club to open up a two stroke lead in the second round of the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School #6 on Tuesday.
The joint overnight leader broke out of the three-way tie at the top with four birdies on the back nine for a three under 69. The 27-year-old KwaZulu-Natal native is perfectly positioned at eight-under-par 136 to shoot for a fourth victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit.
However, Prinsloo could have his job cut out to stave off a strong pack of pursuers, including 19-year-old amateur Estiaan Conradie and John McClean from Northern Ireland in joint second.
Conradie notched three victories in his first four starts on the IGT Tour this season.
After older brother Ruan captured his second title of the season in last week’s Race to Q-School #5 last week, the younger sibling showed that he is spoiling for a fight. He fired a superb six-under-par 66 that featured four birdies on the front nine and a trio of gains from 14 to 16 on the homebound loop.
McClean – the man responsible for the magnificent winner’s trophies on the IGT Tour – could also pose a threat. Coming into the week on the back of ties for 10th and 15th in his last two starts, the Ulsterman made a good recovery after an early bogey and double bogey to reel in five birdies and an eagle at the par five 10th for a 70.
Prinsloo’s job is further complicated by the quartet of players sitting at five under.
Former IGT Tour winner Coert Groenewald and NJ Arnoldi produced a pair of 67s to vault to joint fourth with Justin Turner and amateur Stephan Erasmus, who carded respective rounds of 71 and 69.
“We all have our reasons for playing this week and perhaps some want it more than others,” said the GFG Academy player.
“Like me, some of the guys are here this week to sharpen up for the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open, some of the amateurs are looking for experience and others are building confidence for the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School coming up in March.
“You can’t control what anyone else is doing, only your own score, but at the end of the day the guy who shoots the lowest round will walk off the winner.”
The Centurion reached a career high 78th Order of Merit ranking at the Sun Boardwalk Challenge last month. Now he is hoping for a strong performance in Cape Town to boost his chances for the season’s first European Tour co-sanctioned event at the end of November.
“At this stage I have to qualify for the Alfred Dunhill Championship, but a good show in Cape Town could change that,” he said. “My goal this season is to gain exemption. After a two week break, it was a no-brainer to come and play the IGT Tour to get competitive and sharp for Cape Town.
“I’m driving the ball well and I didn’t have too many problems in the one-club wind today. I had a three-putt bogey at 10, and pulled it left at 14 and couldn’t up-and-down, but otherwise I had a pretty sharp round and finished strong with back-to-back birdies.
“I’m happy with the state of my game. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but it’s looking good already with two more weeks to go before the Cape Town event.”