4th September 2017 | IGT Challenge Tour
Three share Zwartkop Better Ball lead
(PHOTOS – Credit CJ du Plooy)
TSHWANE, 4 September 2017 – Pretoria amateurs Dylan Kok and Christopher van der Merwe set the back nine at Zwartkop Country Club alight to grab a share of the first round lead in the IGT Challenge Tour’s Zwartkop Better Ball on Monday.
The pair will both be lining up for Gauteng North in the South Africa Inter-Provincial at Bryanston Country Club in two weeks and they made a great start to their final preparation for the premier amateur team event when they pencilled a 61 on their card to finish alongside early pacesetters Bennie van der Merwe and Kyle Lucas.
The two-way tie at 10 under swelled to three teams late in the day when Aaron Lugtenburg and Morne du Plessis also combined for a 61.
Three teams, including brothers Estiaan and current Money List leader Ruan Conradie, who share 10 IGT Challenge Tour titles, tied for second at eight under while former Sunshine Tour champion Brandon Pieters and his partner Pieter Moolman feature among the trio of teams tied for seventh on seven under.
Amateur pair Eric Nel and Neville Mitchell rounded out the top 10 on six-under-par 66.
Kok and Van der Merwe turned three under and racked up five consecutive birdies from 12 to 16 after a birdie at 10. They closed with a great four at the par five 18th to finish the loop in 28 strokes.
“Dylan played the Mpumalanga Championship this weekend and he only drove back from Nelspruit at six this morning,” said Van der Merwe. “He felt a little tired at the start of the round, but I guess the adrenaline woke him up because he was really firing on the back nine.
“I missed a short one for birdie at the first hole, but we made two great birdies at four and five and another before the turn to gain some momentum. We started the back nine birdie-par and Dylan nearly holed out at 12. He tapped in for birdie and hit a great approach at 13 to get us another one.
“He didn’t hit a great tee shot at 14, but mine went down the middle. Then he hit a great second close and we both birdied. I popped in a nine-footer at 15 to get us to eight. Dylan’s eagle putt just missed at 16 and we both parred 17.
“Dylan had 170 metres in at 18 after a great tee shot and he just missed an eagle chance again. All in all, we dove-tailed really well and we could have gone even lower if the putts dropped. It’s great to have this change in format up. You can really fire at the pins, knowing your partner has your back. It’s really nice to get a little aggressive again after weeks and weeks of stroke play.”
Van der Merwe and Lucas also turned three under after an eagle at the par five fourth and a birdie at six. A trio of birdies from the 10th took the pair to six under and they dipped 10 under with a birdie at 14 and a trio of gains over the closing holes.
Lugtenburg and Du Plessis went around in loops of 31 and 30. Their outward nine featured a birdie start, a birdie at four and three successive gains at six, seven and eight, while they birdied three in a row from the 12th down the homeward stretch, with further gains at 16 and 18.