24th February 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour
Scarola and Taylor set the pace at IGT Krugersdorp
ROODEPOORT (24 February 2014) – American Brandon Taylor shot a 67 to join early pacesetter Gian Scarola from South Africa at the top of the first round leaderboard at the IGT Series Krugersdorp on Monday.
A commanding performance on the greens moved Scarola to the head of affairs on five under par, while Taylor from California collected an eagle and six birdies against three bogeys to claim a share of the lead at Krugersdorp Golf Club.
The leading pair finished two ahead of Jerry Steyn and amateur Leon Scheepers, while amateur Werner van Niekerk carded a two under 70 to join professionals Coert Groenewald and Thomas Lovett in joint fifth.
Scarola, a qualified PGA professional, joined the Sunshine Tour in 2006. He lost his card at the end of 2007, and instead of returning to qualifying school, joined the job market.
“It was a big blow to me, but while I’m in the market for a new job, I decided to compete on the IGT Tour and get my hand back in competitive golf.”
Scarola gathered two pairs of birdies at 11 and 12, and at 17 and 18 to turn in four under.
He expunged a bogey at the first with a superb eagle at the par-five second, and wiped out another dropped shot at the fifth with birdie number five at the ninth.
The 32-year-old was pleased as punch to be in pole in only his third start in the IGT Series.
“To shoot 67 against your mates in a social round is one thing, but to shoot 67 under tournament conditions is something else altogether,” Scarola said
“I hit the ball pretty well and putted well. I missed an eagle chance at the 12th, and three-putted from just off the green at the first for the bogey. At the second, I hit a great drive and pitching wedge to 10 feet past the hole and made the downhill putt for eagle.
“It’s a pretty straightforward course if you can keep it on the straight and narrow. I hit it a little left on the fifth and paid the price with a two-putt bogey. I have to say, I wish this Tour was around when I was still campaigning on the Sunshine Tour.
“It’s such a fantastic way to keep competitive between tournaments, especially if you have to qualify for every event. My brother Marco is also playing the IGT Tour now, and we both love it.”
Taylor from La Quinta came out to try out for the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School, but after missing the cut-off, decided to compete on the country’s premier development Tour.
“My friend, Will Matthews, and I tried for Q-School and we heard about the IGT Tour, so after we missed the cut-off, we decided to give the tour a go,” Taylor explained.
“We are really enjoying it out here. The conditions are similar to California and the courses are great. It’s a great Tour to gain competitive experience on. We’re going to stay and play all the events in the first Race to the IGT Tour series.”
The 25-year-old arrived at Krugersdorp on the back of a fourth place finish at the IGT Ruimsig last week and echoed Scarola’s sentiments about the course.
“I hit it close on most of the holes, but the greens here are a little tricky.” Taylor said. “You have to try and land it below the hole. Most of the birdies and even the eagle was pretty straightforward, but the birdie at 16 was something else.
“I pulled my tee shot and it ricochet off a tree and I was left with a three-iron into the green. I hit a great slice to 15 foot and holed the putt. That one felt really good.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES:
67 – Gian Scarola, Brandon Taylor USA
69 – Jerry Steyn, Leon Scheepers (AMA)
70 – Thomas Lovett, Coert Groenewald, Werner Van Niekerk
71 – Wayne Stroebel, Keegan Steyn (AMA), John McClean NIR, Otto van Greunen
72 – Jason Diab (AMA), MJ Viljoen, Johann Mostert, Arno Bartholoma (AMA), Lean Boezaart, Antonio Rosado POR, Brad Diffenthal
73 – Lucas Steyn, Sam Botham ENG, TJ Bekker, Michael Jooste (AMA), David Riddle, Graham van den Berg (AMA), Kerwin Marais
74 – Jeandre Fourie, Pieter Van der Linde (AMA), Calvin Caldeira (AMA), Duane Keun, Houston Harwood (AMA), Tyron Mc Comb, Will Mathews USA
75 – Mike Quinn, Pieter Kruger, Willie Steyn
76 – Alwyn Vorster, Tiaan Swart (AMA), Ted Hendriks, Mike Downes ENG, Ruan van Blerk NAM, Hyun Park KOR, Eugene van Loggerenberg
77 – Nico Groenewald (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius, Herman Minnie, Rob Menzies ENG, Niel Meyer (AMA), Henry Featherstone ENG
78 – Stephan De Beer (AMA), Werner Lourens (AMA)
79 – David Lamprecht (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA)
80 – Shaun van Tonder, Russel Franz (AMA)
81 – Mohammed Ismail (AMA), Rinus Brink (AMA)
82 – Craig Dreyer, Danie Pretorius
83 – Russell Jaques ENG (AMA), Chris Haefele
85 – Danel Van Den Berg (AMA)
88 – Matthew Kiewitz (AMA)
89 – Leroy Robertson (AMA)