11th February 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour
Taylor moves in on Tree at IGT Series Randpark
JOHANNESBURG, 11 February 2014 – Toby Tree kept his overnight lead alive at the first IGT Series, but South Africa’s Louis Taylor went low to close the gap on the Englishman in Tuesday’s second round at Randpark Golf Club.
The English Golf Union Elite Squad member took control with an opening 64 at the Willowbush course and held a three shot lead on South Africa’s Duane Keun starting the second round.
Tree quickly dipped to four under with eagles at the par-five first and third, but destroyed the advantage of an additional five birdies with four bogeys and a dismal seven at the par-four 11th.
The 19-year-old Chichester amateur signed for a 70 to set the 36-hole target at 10-under-par 134, giving Taylor and the rest of the field a reachable target to shoot for.
“I knew I had to shoot a low number to catch Toby, but I struggled with the pace of the greens in the first round, so I needed to get the irons going close,” said Taylor.
Since the putter was still lukewarm, the country’s number seven relied on his irons to get aggressive with his approach shots.
The result was three quick birdies at the first, third and fourth on the front nine, another gain at the par-five 12th to cancel the bogey at 10 and a string of three from the 15th for a six under 66 that left one shot adrift of the English leader.
“To be honest, it looks better on paper than it was, because the birdies at the par-fives were all two putts,” Taylor admitted. “I’m still struggling with pace after playing such slow greens in the last few months, but the putting was marginally better.”
“I’m really happy with my tee shots and the irons shots, because I was barely in trouble out there. Hopefully all 14 clubs behave themselves in the final round.”
Taylor was bitterly disappointed after missing out on his card at the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School, especially after he was the only amateur left standing after the cut at the South African Open Championship. Yet, he believes, in retrospect, it was a positive loss.
“I watched my twin brother Eddie out there, trying to pre-qualify for the Joburg Open, and it’s really as tough as they say,” he said. “I was nowhere near prepared for the pro circuit, but I only realised that after the fact. That’s why I will split my time this year between the national amateur circuit and the IGT Tour, to get more competitive and learn how to really compete under pressure.”
Meanwhile Keun returned a 71 and England’s Henri Featherstone a 69 to stay in touch on six under, while American Brandon Taylor reeled in five birdies and dropped two shots on his way to a 69 and sole fifth on five under.
Jonathan Waschefort rallied with a 67 to claim a share of sixth on three under with IGT Tour winners Pieter Kruger and Otto van Greunen, who closed with a pair of 72s.