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15th May 2019 | Big Easy Tour

Pack ready to give chase at Big Easy IGT

Garrick Higgo remains the man to catch with 18 holes to play in the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #3, but the lefty will have to hold off a hungry pack as he goes in search of a maiden professional title at Modderfontein Golf Club on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Sunshine Tour rookie played the course blind on Monday and shot straight to the top of the pile with a sizzling six-under-par 66. A second round 70 kept him in the lead on eight-under, but he opened the door for a talented chasing pack with a hat-trick of bogeys on his back nine.

With 10 cards for the Sunshine Tour up for grabs at the end of the season, Marthin Scheepers and Ryan Tipping are bound to come out guns blazing.

Scheepers, who lost his Sunshine Tour card at the end of last season, carded 71 and Tipping posted 70 to finish within two shots of the lead.

Jacquin Hess (pictured) from the Gary Player School fired a four-under 68 to blast to joint fourth on five-under with reigning Junior Open champion Martin Vorster from the GolfRSA National Squad, who birdied the closing hole for a 69.

Former three-time Sunshine Tour winner Michael Bothma and Ryan O’Neill also finished within striking distance on four-under after respective rounds of 72 and 70.

The player to watch, though, is Southern Cape amateur Jordan Duminy.

The 16-year-old GolfRSA National Squad member opened with a 74, but showed that he is ready to take the fight to his professional peers when he mixed six birdies with a lone bogey for a five-under 67 that earned him the low round honours on day two. The SA Amateur finalist will start the final round just five shots off the pace.

Higgo nearly holed out for an albatross at the first, and after an eagle start, he birdied six and eight to turn three-under. He followed a birdie at the par five 10th with bogeys at 11 and 12, reeled in another birdie at the par five 13th, but gave another shot back to the field with a bogey at 15.

“I played the course really well on the front nine, but I had a couple of soft bogeys coming home,” Higgo said.

“The set-up was tougher today and I felt a bit tired over the last couple of holes, but I kept it together to stay in front. No doubt I’ll have a target on my back in the final round, but I will just take it shot-for-shot and hopefully I can pull it through.”

Hess was delighted to get the flat-stick going after a frustrating 71 in the first round.

“I sunk seven birdie putts today and that was the difference,” said the 28-year-old Robertson golfer. “These greens are really true, but I couldn’t buy a putt on Monday. My ball-striking was as good today as in the first round, but the putts dropped, whether I was off the green or two feet away. That always boosts the confidence and it’s nice to be in with a shout.”

Vorster and fellow Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member Duminy relished the chance to test themselves on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour ahead of the GolfRSA National Squad Tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland at the end of May.

“We are both loving it,” said 17-year-old Vorster.

“This is way more pressure than we’ve ever experienced at amateur level or even in amateur events abroad. It was great to see how the pros manage their games under pressure. It’s been really good for us to see things that we can work on to take our games to the next level.”

The Pinnacle Point golfer birdied the first and erased a double bogey at the par four fifth with four birdies on the bounce around the turn.

“I split the fairway at the fifth and I had 67 metres flag, but I put too much spin on my approach and it spun back down the slope. After four-putting for a double, I was really glad to turn things around with the four birdies in a row.

“I two-putted eight and holed a 30-footer for birdie at nine. I chipped it give at 10 and drained another swinging 30-footer for birdie at 11. It’s a pity that I dropped 16 and 17, but I managed to finish with a birdie to put together a decent score. Jordan played great and we’re so stoked that we’ve made the cut. We’re both really excited to get one more round to gain experience.”