19th February 2018 | IGT Challenge Tour
Van der Berg to the fore at Els Club Copperleaf
(PHOTO – Tokkie van den Berg; credit CJ du Plooy)
PRETORIA, 19 February 2018 – Tokkie van den Berg carded a scorching seven-under-par 65 to take the first round lead at The Els Club Copperleaf on Monday and the Pretoria professional will be looking to targeting a maiden IGT Challenge Tour win in the penultimate event of the 2018 Race to Q-School series.
Van den Berg fired eight birdies, including a trio of three from 15, to move one shot clear at the summit on a day that saw plenty of big moves in the chase for top 10 spots in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit.
The in-form HPC Tuks Golf Academy player started the week in sixth place in the Rankings after a good run of form yielded two ties for second and a third place finish in his last four events.
With just two events left, the title of Race to Q-School Order of Merit is outside of his reach, but if the 27-year-old.were to emerge victorious, he would be assured of a spot in the field for Final Stage in the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School next month.
The first round leader is feeling more confident with his game than ever before.
“It was a good day out there,” he said. “I had a couple of mistakes, but you make some and you miss some. It was a solid round. I hit it good off the tee and hit my irons pretty close. It wasn’t the easiest of days and there were some tricky shots, but I played really solid.
“I have had great momentum for the last two months and it’s just pedal to the metal for me. It’s been a long stretch, but a positive one, so all the sacrifices are worth it. A win would be a great way to finish the Race to Q-School. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, I’m still happy with what I’ve done.”
Former IGT Challenge Tour winner Dylan Mostert launched himself in the mix with a flawless 66.
The Ekurhuleni golfer was thrilled to bring the momentum of a completed first season at Dalton State University to the country’s premier golf development circuit.
“My overall game has improved a lot and my course management, too,” said the 19-year-old. “This is a course where you can fire on some holes, but you also need to be patient. I had a lot of fun out there and it was nice keeping the card clean, because this is a challenging layout.”
Ruan Korb, Conway Kunneke and Sweden’s Fredrik From are two off the pace.
Ruan Conradie leads the IGT Challenge Tour Money Leaders list for 2018 and is second in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit. To achieve the double the Wingate Park golfer has to beat his younger brother Estiaan, who tops the money list.
A four-under 68 left Ruan in a tie for fifth with England’s Mark James, Canadian Steven Lecuyer, Maritz Wessels, Tristen Conradie and amateur Carlo Heunis and three shots clear of his sibling.