3rd September 2013 | IGT Challenge Tour




(Photo – Gideon Pienaar; credit CJ du Plooy)GPienaarSMines

JOHANNESBURG, 3 September 2013 – KwaZulu-Natal’s Gideon Pienaar made a charge for victory in the IGT Challenge Pro Tour’s first Race to Q-School event when he fired a flawless second round to take pole position at State Mines on Tuesday.

Pienaar held a four-way share of the lead after an opening 70, but the 25-year-old from Pongola will take a slender one shot lead into the final round after signing for a four-under-par 68.

Pienaar leads at six under 138, with JC Richie from Pretoria in second and Tyrone Ryan three shots back in third. Richie and Ryan both returned 69s.

Pienaar, who broke through for his first IGT Tour victory at the Services tournament in July, was pretty satisfied with his effort.

“I had a really solid round,” he said “It was really good to finish a round with no bogeys on your card.”

Pienaar’s strategy to keep the ball in play paid handsome dividends and he will take the same game plan into the final round.

“I really concentrated on my course management, keeping the ball in play and taking the birdies where they happened. The one of 11 was pretty good, though. I hit my tee shot into the trees on the left and had the smallest gap to the green.

“I was really thrilled that I executed the shot well under pressure. I got on the green and holed a 20-footer for birdie. I will stick to this format for the final round because this is the kind of form I need to take into Qualifying School next year. I just want to keep playing to this standard.”

Although Richie bogeyed the 14th and 18th and birdied the 15th to turn in three under, the joint overnight leader clawed his way back into contention with birdies at the first and third.

For a second day running, Richie was the picture of accuracy off the tee but his precision actually cost him a few shots.

“I had a few unlucky bounces along the way,” the 19-year-old Irene golfer said. “I hit a sprinkler head in the fairway at the 18th and that cost me a shot and I hit the flagstick at the ninth, but was able to save par.

“The game was solid and the putter was working well. I guess I was a little unlucky, but 69 was still a good score. It’s always great to score under par. I’m still in with a shout and I think things could get very interesting in the final round.”

Sarel van der Walt and Roberto Lupini also shared the first round lead on two under 70. Van der Walt carded an even-par 72 to tie for fourth with Ted Hendriks, while Lupine slipped to a share of 29th with a costly 81.

Former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Iliska Verwey began the second round one off the pace, but three successive bogeys from the seventh and double bogeys at the 10th and 15th saw her finish with a 77. The Gauteng North golfer, who is competing the 12-event Race to Q-School in preparation for her second shot at gaining a Ladies European Tour card in December, is tied for 18th on four over 148.

The cut was set to 12-over-par 154, leaving 52 players in the field to contest the final round, including  will be contested between 52 players, including six amateurs Andi Dill, Callum Mowat, Graeme Vrugtman, Graham van den Berg, Jonathan Waschefort and Leon Knoll.

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