22nd June 2015 | IGT Challenge Tour
Scholtz a happy camper in IGT Cape Kuilsrivier Classic
One of the longest hitters in the amateur game in South Africa, the lanky 22-year-old honed his skills at Kuilsrivier Golf Club and he expected to be in the thick of things this week.
A five-under-par 67 put Scholtz precisely where he wants to be – sharing pole position with Boland professional, Trevor Mahoney.
Matthew Kent nudged into sole second with a 68, while Mahoney’s Sunshine Tour contemporaries Dwayne Basson, JJ Senekal, Heinrich Bruiners and Adrian Ford finished at three under.
“I grew up playing this course from a young age and it really suits my game,” said Scholtz.
“I also played a lot of golf on the IGT Tour in Gauteng last year, so I got used to competing with the pros and I’m quite comfortable being surrounded by them. I think any amateur is a little intimidated at first, but you get used to it so quickly.
“Besides, Trevor was my foursomes’ partner in the SA Inter-Provincial last year and we know each other very well. Dwayne and JJ also played for Boland; in fact, I played my first ever IPT with JJ.”
The lanky 22-year-old not only knows the course well, but he came into the event after captaining De Zalze Golf Club to victory in the 2015 Boland League at the weekend.
He rode that little boost of confidence straight through a slight hiccup on the front nine.
“I birdied the second, but I hadn’t quite found momentum yet,” Scholtz said.
“I hit a poor tee shot at four and had a three-putt at five and it cost me two shots. I birdied six to get one back and from that moment, my short game was on point.
The Swingfit Academy player dipped into red numbers with a pair of birdies before the turn, another gain at 14 and an eagle at the closing hole.
“It’s always nice to start the tournament with a solid opening round,” he said. “It feeds the confidence and now I just need to maintain this momentum over the next two rounds.”
Mahoney got off to a fast start with back-to-back birdies, surrendered a shot at the third, but rallied with birdies at nine, 12, 14 and 17 for a share of the lead.
The 2015 Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School winner is desperately hunting for the missing ingredient to turn a disappointing season around.
“It’s been a series of missed cuts, but when you look closer, I’ve been really consistent,” said the former SAGDB graduate.
“If I shot a 74 in the first round, I followed with a 73 or 75. What I need is a good red number to start with. That was my focus coming into this week. Now I just need to build on it.
“That’s the greatest thing for me about having IGT Tour here in Cape Town now. It gives us a chance to work on stuff and helps us stay sharp between events. This field this week is really strong, too. That adds to the pressure to perform. Hopefully more sponsors will come on board next year so they can expand the schedule, because it’s really beneficial for the pros and the amateurs.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES (TOP 20)
67 Trevor Mahoney; Armandt Scholtz (AMA)
68 Matthew Kent
69 Dwayne Basson; JJ Senekal; Heinrich Bruiners; Adrian Ford
70 Sean Howell (AMA); Jean-Paul Strydom
71 Keenan Davidse; Breyten Meyer; Altin van der Merwe (AMA); Christiaan Basson; Elmo Barnard (AMA)
72 Christian Basson (AMA); Sevey Links (AMA); Drikus Bruyns; Rhys West
73 Cameron Esau; Andrew Light
PHOTO – Kuilsrivier Classic joint first round leader Armandt Scholtz;; credit IGT Cape.