10th December 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour
Richie, Pretorius lead final IGT Race to Q-School
BEDFORDVIEW, 10 December 2013 – JC Ricthie finds himself in familiar territory after an opening two-under-par but the Irene golfer is hoping for a different outcome in the ultimate event in the IGT Tour’s 12 Tournament Race to Q-School series at Glendower.
Torrential rain hit the SA Open venue early on Tuesday and the field not only had to contend with wet fairways, soaked greens and bunkers and soggy gear, but keeping the grips on their clubs dry as the downpour intensified became a proper mission in the conditions.
Richie came away from the tough layout with two birdies and a bogey on each nine and the 19-year-old from Centurion was surprised to discover that he set the clubhouse target.
When action wrapped up, Ritchie and Pretorius only had each other for company in the below par range.
James Searson finished with a 72 to take third, while Jacques de Villiers and Pieter Kruger shared fourth on one over 73.
Amateurs Callum Mowat and Eduard van den Berg tied for sixth with Lean Boezaart on 74.
Richie held a share of the second round lead at the IGT Race to Q-School State Mines, but failed to capitalise and finished third. This time he aims to go all the way.
“I feel that if I keep myself in contention, eventually I’m going to break the ice,” he said. “It’s the law of averages and it’s just a matter of doing what I can over the next two rounds.
“It was a pretty tough day out there, but I managed to stay calm in the conditions and just keep my head focussed on one shot at a time. It produced results on a tough scoring day, and I need to build on that.”
Even if he fails to win, Richie says he needs to get a top three finish.
“The IGT is funding the entry fees for the top 12 IGT Tour players on the Race to Q-School Order of Merit and I’m currently lying 13th,” he explained. “If I can pull off a solid performance here at Glendower over the next two days, I can play myself into the top 12 and that is my goal.”
Pretorius, who will also make the gruelling trip to Q-School, feels much the same.
“I’ve been there before, but I’ve never felt this well prepared,” said the Free Stater, who relocated to Gauteng to work with coach Graeme Francis at this academy in preparation for the Q-School.
“I was pretty solid out there,” said Pretorius. “The course did get pretty waterlogged in the afternoon with the incessant rain, but you just have to go about your business. I just tried to stay in the present, give myself chances and keep the bogeys to a minimum.
“But if I want to collect the trophy on Thursday, I’m going to have to keep my foot on the gas. There are a lot of guys behind JC and I who can win, but all I can do is worry about what I do. I’ll concentrate on what I have to do and see where it adds up at the end of the day.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES (Top 40 and ties)
South African unless otherwise indicated; Amateur = (AMA)
70 – JC Ritchie, Danie Pretorius
72 – James Searson
73 – Jacques de Villiers, Pieter Kruger
74 – Callum Mowat (AMA), Lean Boezaart, Eduard Van Den Berg (AMA)
75 – Antonio Rosado, Johan Theron
76 – Paul De Beer (AMA), Andi Dill (AMA), JC van Dommelen, Cilliers Naude, Ryan Clarke, Sam Botham
77 – Jared Burnard, Brendan De Lange, Dongkwan Kim, Ted Hendriks, Jonathan Waschefort, Pierre Viviers, Mike Maile, Leon De Lange (AMA), Bryce McCabe (AMA), Graham van den Berg (AMA), Nic Stawski, Hyun Park
78 – Matthew Adams (AMA), Terence Boardman, Herman Minnie, Jerry Steyn
79 – Roberto Lupini, Wayne Stroebel, Romano Saincic, Sarel Van der Walt, Rob Menzies, Lourens Du Plessis (AMA), Carrie Park (AMA), Francesca Cuturi (AMA)
80 – Matt Bright (AMA), Rae Mackie, Gideon Pienaar, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Frans Strydom, Jaryd Wagner, Jacqui Akers (AMA)