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16th May 2018 | Big Easy Tour

Du Plessis drives to Big Easy lead

CJ du Plessis nosed clear of the field in the second event on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour with a solid three-under-par 69 at Modderfontein Golf Club on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Limpopo golfer leads by two shots on six-under 138 from 2018 Vusi Ngubeni Stroke Play champion Teboho Sefatsa, who racked up seven birdies and an eagle as he blitzed around the course in 65 strokes and shaved 10 shots off an opening 75.

Coming off a tie for 25th in the Investec Royal Swazi Open last week, Du Plessis was pretty pleased with an almost flawless round that featured one bogey, a birdie on each nine and an eagle at the par five eighth.

“I teed off at the 10th and made a three-putt bogey at 11 from about 20 feet behind the hole,” said the Irene Country Club golfer. “It wasn’t the ideal start, but I managed to hit a wedge really close at 16 and holed the putt for birdie.

“I missed two short birdie chances, but at least I was back to level. I went with a three-wood off the tee at the first and hit a solid 9-iron in to 12 foot, but I missed the eagle putt. I boxed a short one for birdie to dip into red numbers.”

The former IGT Challenge Tour winner made six straight pars, but two good shots at the long eighth set up a three that vaulted Du Plessis to the top of the leaderboard.

“I hit a great down the eighth fairway and a 7-iron that plugged on the green,” he said. “I had about eight feet left to the hole and I didn’t make any mistakes with that putt. The course took a beating with the rain in round one and it played quite long.

“I feel confident about tomorrow and I’m looking forward to play in the leading group and experience a bit of pressure. Obviously it would be great to finish with a win, but it’s a tight leaderboard with a lot of hungry guys chasing the trophy, so we’ll just have to see how it all turns out. Irrespective of how things turn out in the final round, I’ll be leaving immediately for the Swaziland to pre-qualify for the Lombard Insurance Classic on Friday.”

Pieter Moolman and Duane Keun returned a pair of 68s to tie for third on three under with Matthew Spacey, who carded 71. Arno Pretorius, Sean Bradley, Marthin Scheepers and Conway Kunneke are a further stroke adrift in joint sixth while overnight leader Thabang Simon had to settle for a seat on the nine-man bus at two-under after he battled to a round of 75.