29th February 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour

Two-way tie at GMC Doubles

Leaders day 1(Photo – Russel Franz & Hennie du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy)

TSHWANE, 29 February 2016 – Three-time Sunshine Tour champion Danie van Tonder and Jared Harvey fired 11 birdies to surge into the first round lead in the GMC Doubles at Zwartkop Country Club, but the seasoned pair had to share centre stage for IGT Tour graduates Russel Franz and Hennie du Plessis on Monday.

The GFG Academy duo claimed a share of pole position on 11-under-par 60 with nine birdies and an eagle two at the par four 14th.

The joint pacesetters have no less than eight pairs within three shots of their lead and breathing down their neck.

Portugal’s Antonio Rosado – a five-time IGT Tour winner – and David Ashley from England combined for 10 under 61 and a share of second alongside Clinton Grobler and his amateur partner Ryan Wingrove, Norman Beggs and partner Johnathan Agren and the pairing of Jaco Prinsloo and JC Ritchie.

Namibian duo Roux Jeffrey and Ruan Huysamen finished two shots off the pace, while Anton Haig and Justin Turner lurk just a further stroke adrift alongside Chris Erasmus and Jacques de Villiers, as well as Simon Kruger & Duane Keun.

Du Plessis and Franz both birdied the first and second holes, but dovetailed to near perfection for the rest of the round.

“We wasted a few birdies at the start, but we had an awesome time out there,” said Franz, who was also responsible for the eagle on their card.

“I birdied four, Hennie birdied seven, eight and 11, and I holed out from 90 metres at 14. We both parred 15, birdied 16, I knocked another one in the hole at 17 and Hennie put us in the joint lead with a birdie at the 18th

“We were really excited to hear that Dale Hayes wanted to host an event of this nature. It’s a fantastic concept and it makes really nice change from straight stroke play. It’s not always easy to sustain great form over three or four rounds, but this format gives us a chance to play with a little more freedom and it really gets you fired up.

“For instance, Hennie took the first tee shots and that allowed me to get a little more aggressive with the second tee shots. We had a lot of fun out there and we are gunning to go in round two.”

Meanwhile Michael Armstrong holed out at the par-three 15th on the way to posting a 64 with fellow amateur Matthew Adams.

“We have 100 bottles of Ernie Els wine up for grabs at the par-three seventh and a paid holiday sponsored by Dream Hotels for an ace at the par-three 17th over the three rounds of the tournament,” said IGT Tour commissioner Cois du Plooy.

“Unfortunately for Michael, his ace was at the wrong hole, but at least he will have his name added to the hole-in-one wall here at Zwartkop.”

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