2nd December 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour

Strydom surges clear at Centurion

Centurion1-3DecDay1 (189)(PHOTO – Ockie Strydom; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 2 December 2014 – Ockie Strydom produced the fireworks on his back nine en route to a four stroke lead in the second round of the IGT Tour’s eighth Race to Q-School at Centurion Country Club on Tuesday.

Strydom charged up the leaderboard with a nine-under-par 63, delivering a grandstand five birdie finish to give himself a shot at a fourth victory on the country’s premier development Tour this season.

He to set the target at on 15 under 129, while CJ du Plessis, overnight leader Coert Groenewald and Pretoria amateur Philip Kruse carded respective rounds of 65, 67 and 68 to keep themselves in the title frame at 11 under.

Strydom got off to a solid start with birdies at the 11th and 12th and reeled in another birdie at the 15th and tapped in for eagle at the par-five 16th. A bogey at the ninth saw him turn four under.

The Kempton Park player started his back nine with a birdie-bogey combo at the first and second and caught fire at the fifth to romp home with a run of five successive birdies.

“CJ was burning up the front nine and I figured he would be leading,” Strydom said.

“When I got the fifth tee, I told my playing partner that I needed at least four birdies to stay in touch with CJ. He even joked that I was greedy when I drove the green at 18 and knocked it another birdie with two putts.

“But golf is a funny game like that. Sometimes you melt down under pressure; other times you just perform. I guess today was one of those days it just happened.”

Earlier this season, the Kempton Park professional captured the rain-shortened IGT Series Wingate and claimed a play-off victory against Sunshine Tour winner Toto Thimba at the IGT Series ERPM. In October, he racked up his third victory in the third Race to Q-School at Ruimsig Country Club.

Yet, Strydom has meandered through 15 starts on the Sunshine Tour this season and earned just under R60,000 from five cuts made.

“I played a friendly game with my wife’s boss at a local mashie this past weekend and after nine holes, I was three over par,” he said. “That’s when I realised that my head was just not in the game.

“It’s been a very tough season financially, and I think I just lost focus. I was beating my brains out, but really, my focus was on everything but my game.”
Strydom realised it was time to remove his head from his posterior, as they say, and the result of his renewed vigour sees him at the top of the leaderboard.

“It’s really great to be shooting some decent scores again,” he said.

“I need a good run to take the qualifier for the Alfred Dunhill Championship qualifier at Irene next week, so for once, I hope I can take this form and use it to good effect on the Sunshine Tour.

“I haven’t been able to do that yet. You put so much pressure on yourself when you have to qualify. You end up getting in your own way. It’s a mental block I just need to get out of the way.”

Reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Carrie Park held her own among the men with rounds of 72 and 76 to finish two strokes inside the cut, set at six over 150.

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