11th July 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Strydom strides to Waterkloof lead
(Photo – Ockie Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 11 July 2016 – Sunshine Tour regular Ockie Strydom has an 11th IGT Tour title in his sights after taking the lead in the opening round of the Waterkloof Challenge on Monday.
The Kempton Park golfer threw his name in the hat for a fourth successive turn in the winner’s circle with a flawless six-under-par 66 at Waterkloof Golf Club.
Strydom leads by two shots from English pro Gregg Blainey, who also handed in a bogey-free card with birdies pencilled in at four, 11, 14 and 18.
Three-time Sunshine Tour winner Louis de Jager, Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Carrie Park and SA Open runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout lurk three off the pace in a six-way tie for third.
Strydom celebrated a hat-trick of victories on the country’s premier development Tour this season in in the last month. If he succeeds with number 11 this week, the GFG Academy player will break the five year record set by Danie van Tonder in 2011 for the most IGT Tour career victories.
Strydom turned five under courtesy of an eagle at the par five seventh and birdies at three, five and eight and he interrupted a run of straight pars on the back nine with a birdie at the par five 14th.
“This was the kind of start I was looking for, but I had a few problems with the driver on the back nine,” Strydom said.
“I was pulling it a little off the tee and had some work to do to save par, but the most important thing is that I kept my card clean and managed to knock a short one in for birdie at 14. It’s not something that is going to give a sleepless night, though.
“I’ve been on the circuit long enough to know it happens from time to time and you just have to play your way through it. The short game is sharp and I’m really happy with the way I am putting, so I’ll just let the driver find its way back to the fairway tomorrow.
“I see that there is a nice bunch of guys and Carrie chasing me. I enjoy that kind of pressure, because it keeps you on your toes and pushing.”
Park has enjoyed four top five finishes on the predominantly male circuit this season and lined up number five with a bogey-free 69.
Bezuidenhout – a three-time winner last season – cancelled a double bogey at the short eighth with five birdies and De Jager enjoyed a purple patch of birdies from five to eight to turn four under, but hit the skids with a double bogey at 12 and bogey at 15. He shaved two shots off his deficit with birdies at 14 and 18 to join the bus at three-under alongside Park, Bezuidenhout, Morne Buys, rookie Matthew Spacey and amateur Etienne Janse van Rensburg.