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5th June 2019 | Big Easy Tour

Spacey blows into Big Easy IGT lead with 64

Matthew Spacey finished with flurry of birdies to lay down a marker for a coveted Sunshine Tour card with his best round of the season in the second round of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour #4 on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old fired a flawless seven-under-par 64 to surge to a two-shot lead on 10-under 134 at Reading Country Club.

Hendrikus Stoop also registered a 64 on a low scoring day in Alberton and will start the final round in joint second with Albert Venter, who returned a 67, while Reinhardt Blaauw returned a blemish-free 66 to finish four off the pace.

But the low round honours belonged to Johannesburg rookie Mitchell Lightfoot.

After opening with par at the first, the Glenvista golfer went on the tear and racked up seven birdies on the bounce for an outward loop of 29. Lightfoot made four more coming home to offset a brace of bogeys and a nine-under 62 earned him a seat on the seven-man bus at five under.

“That was some golf that Mitchell played out there,” said Spacey. “He could be the man to beat if has another low one on Wednesday.

“I am obviously pretty happy after 64. I played great all day and got pretty hot on the back nine. I really like this course. You have to be strategic off the tees, but if you’re hitting it well, it rewards you. You can gain shots on the three par fives, and most of the guys in the field can get on the green in two at the 12th. A couple of the par fours are also score-able, but the par threes are tough. They all have turtle-back greens, so you have to hit it at exactly the right distance and straight. If you don’t put it on the greens, it’s very tough to up-and-down for par.”

After making the perfect start with a three-foot birdie putt at the 10th and a solid par at 11, Spacey drove it into the trees at the par five 12th.

“I had a gap between the trees and I went for it,” he said. “I got it on the green and two-putted for birdie. After that I had a straight run of pars to reach the turn in 33. I had a chance at 14 where I missed a 15-footer for birdie and I hit it close at 17, but also missed the birdie putt.

“I hit 2-iron off the tee at the first, and it was the perfect club. I had 120 metres in, and hit sand-wedge 15 foot short and boxed the putt for birdie.”

Following a close call at the par five fourth and another birdie putt shaving the hole at the short fifth, Spacey’s flat stick caught fire.

“I hit 2-iron, gap-wedge to six feet at six and left a 9-iron six feet short at the seventh,” he said. “I went with driver down the fairway at the eighth and hit 7-iron from 195 metres, but my second shot plugged in the upslope of the front bunker.

“I hit a really good trap shot to up-and-down for birdie and at the ninth, I hit 8-iron to six feet and boxed the putt for a birdie finish.”

Spacey is in the top six on the Road to Sunshine Tour rankings after the first three events and a win on Wednesday will greatly improve his chances of a card for the Sunshine Tour next year.

“Last year the top 10 ranked players got cards, but they have reduced it to the top six,” he said.

“The stakes are even higher and you have to perform every week to have a chance. I think my game has been going the right way for quite a while, to be honest.  I won the season-opener, finished third at Observatory and was sixth at Modderfontein.

“I feel like I am playing well enough to win again, but I can only control my own game out there; I can’t do anything if someone goes hot. I’m looking forward to playing with Stoopie and Albert. Stoopie and I played for South Africa together in the amateur ranks. Allie was younger than us, but I’ve played with him a lot over the last year on the IGT and the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tours. We should have some fun and good contest.”