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22nd August 2018 | Big Easy Tour

Moralee and Brown in the hunt at Wingate

Former IGT Challenge Tour winners Cameron Moralee (pictured) and Luke Brown moved within striking distance of a maiden Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour victory on day two at Wingate Park Country Club on Tuesday.

Local favourite Francois Coetzee opened with a five-under-par 67 to join North West rookie Leon Vorster in pole position and held on to the 36-hole lead in the eighth event with a second round 69.

He tops the leaderboard on eight-under, with rookies Moralee and Brown breathing down his neck.

Moralee bolted up the leaderboard with a blistering 67 to finish within a shot of Coetzee, while Brown returned a 69 to finish a further stroke adrift.

Joint overnight leader Vorster is still in touch at five-under with a 72 and will start the final round tied for fourth with Hendrikus Stoop and Peetie van der Merwe, who returned rounds of 71 and 67.

Moralee and Brown were both still amateurs when they broke through on the IGT Challenge Tour during last year’s Race to Q-School Series. Moralee from Dainfern went wire-to-wire at Ruimsig and Country Club Johannesburg’s Brown also led from start to finish at Germiston Golf Club.

Moralee has been trending towards a second title on the country’s two golf development circuits since he joined the pro ranks in April.

He tied for second in his first Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour at Silver Lakes in April and enjoyed pay days in his two subsequent starts, while notching top 10 finishes in three of his four starts on the IGT Challenge Tour.

Moralee came off the bench last week, having spent six weeks on the bench with a shoulder injury from middle June till the end of July.

“I pinched a ligament in my shoulder and I couldn’t swing a club,” said the 19-year-old former SA Open Freddie Tait Trophy winner. “You can’t afford to take time off with everyone gunning for the top 10 in the rankings. We’re all competing for the 10 cards to the Sunshine Tour.

“Last week at Irene I tied for 22nd, my worst result of the season, but at least I got the rust off. I didn’t putt well in the first round but today the flat stick was nice and hot. I made five birdies going out nine and two more coming home.

“I struck the ball really well and I stuck it close all day. My birdies were all between two and 10 feet. It felt good to hole some putts again. I’ve played myself into a good position and hopefully I can finish off with a good result and get myself back in the running.”

Brown made his second cut on the Big Easy circuit a fortnight ago and is riding a wave of confidence.

The 19-year-old Sandton golfer had top 10s at The Els Club Copperleaf and Reading Country Club on the IGT Challenge Tour and carried that self-assurance to Randpark, where he finished 23rd overall. “It’s so great to hit some form again,” said Brown. “This is a game of ups and downs and you just have to grind your way through the tough times and believe the hard work will pay off. Like it has this week. Two rounds of 69 and I’m in with a shout.”