2nd April 2014 | IGT Challenge Tour
Van Niekerk hunts Rosado at IGT Centurion
(PHOTO – Werner van Niekerk; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 2 April 2014 – Antonio Rosado and Werner van Niekerk both rushed home in 67 strokes, but the Portuguese professional will carry a one stroke lead over the South African into the final round of the IGT Series Centurion on Thursday.
Rosado lagged two shots off the pace after an opening 70, and Van Niekerk was three behind the trio that topped the first round leaderboard.
The Portuguese player delivered a flawless performance at Centurion Country Club to surge into the lead at seven-under-par 137.
Pretoria’s Van Niekerk also reeled in five birdies at the 6,700 meter layout without dropping a shot.
Herman Minnie, who shared the overnight lead on 68 with amateur Keegan Steyn and Michael Dreyer, returned a 71 to slip to a tie for third with Ted Hendriks, who came home in 69 strokes.
Dreyer signed for a 72 and slipped to joint fifth on 140 with Danie Pretorius and Coert Groenewald, who both carded 70s, while Steyn struggled to a 77 to finish in the bus on one-over-par 145.
Rosado claimed his first success on South Africa’s premier development Tour at the IGT Series Krugersdorp in February. The Vilamoura golfer ranks third after four starts in the season-opening IGT Series after the win and two top 20 finishes.
The 29-year-old was pleased to be in contention and will stick to the same strategy in the final round.
“I just played fairways and greens and I managed to hole some putts,” he said. “If I can do the same in the final round, I’ve got a good chance to win again.”
Pretoria’s Van Niekerk is ranked 10th after six starts and has placed third, fifth and eighth, as well as in the top 20 twice.
The 23-year-old BSc Construction Management graduate was equally excited to be in contention and will definitely chase down Rosado on Thursday.
“It was really great to hit a bogey-free round, because that is what I’ve been working towards,” he said.
“I was a little disappointed that I didn’t birdie two of the par-fives. I didn’t hit my driver all that well, but I’ve worked on it a little and I hope to birdie all the par-fives in the final round.
Other than that, I will play the same game and try to come home bogey-free again.”