29th June 2016 | IGT Challenge Tour
Van Tonder takes charge in Centurion
TSHWANE, 29 June 2016 – Benoni pro Danie van Tonder will take a two shot lead into the final round of the Centurion Championship as he goes in search of a second IGT Tour title this season at Centurion Country Club on Thursday.
The Ebotse player came into day three in a tie for the lead and was still deadlocked for the lead with JC Ritchie and joint overnight leader Ockie Strydom after a rather messy front nine. A stunning back nine of 32 saw Van Tonder pull clear of the pack as he made four birdies in the first five holes on his way to a round of 68 and a nine under par total.
Ritchie and Strydom are Van Tonder’s closest challengers at seven under after clocking in with respective rounds of 69 and 70.
Centurion’s Juan Swart, who also shared the overnight lead, returned a 71 to finish at six under.
Damian Naicker carded a 69 to finish a further two strokes adrift in a tie for fifth with amateurs Carlos Arroyo and Warren Pretorius, who both signed for 70s.
Van Tonder bogeyed his opening hole, but managed to offset the bogey and two more drops at 13 and 14 with birdies at 12, 15 and 17. He birdied the first and second right after the turn and notched another brace of birdies at four and five to move into the top spot.
He was delighted to have a bit of a cushion going into the final round.
“It was a bit of a slow start, but I stayed patient and got my rewards in the end,” he said. “Patience is one of the key things I’ve learned since turning pro. “I rode my luck at times today on the back nine, and got away with a few bad shots but other than that I played really well, so I’m pretty happy. I hit it really close for three tap-in birdies, but I also let a few slip.
“I knocked in a three-footer for birdie at the first and a seven-footer at the second for another birdie and that gave me some momentum on the back nine. The putt at four was a long one, about 15 feet, and I chipped in the last birdie at five.
“It always helps that the course is in such fantastic condition and the weather’s been nearly perfect; just a little chilly in the mornings.
“I feel good about my game and it’s great to have a 72-hole event to really test the work I’ve been doing on my game. It’s really nice to have a chance going into the final day.”
Van Tonder turned pro in 2011 and spent his rookie season competing on the country’s premier development Tour. He won 10 times, a record which still stands, and notched his 11th IGT Tour title in March when he staved off American Zachary Portemont to win the Houghton Challenge.