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24th April 2018 | Big Easy Tour

Strydom sweeps to Big Easy IGT Kyalami lead

Tristen Strydom soared to a one-shot lead on the wings of two eagles during the first round of the IGT Challenge Tour #3 at Kyalami Country Club on Monday.

The 19-year-old from Pretoria fired a seven-under-par 65 to edge out fellow Tshwane golfer Albert Venter for the top spot on the leaderboard.

Gauteng rookie Cameron Moralee, a joint runner-up in the inaugural Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour event at Silver Lakes, Swaziland’s James Pennington, Ruan Korb and amateur Michael Pfeifer tied for third, four shots off the pace.

IGT Challenge Tour #2 winner Hendrikus Stoop slipped into fourth with a round of 70.

Former Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play champion Ivanna Samu opened with a 71 to tie for fifth alongside Dwayne Basson, DK Kim from Korea, Ruhan van Dijk and three-time Sunshine Tour champion Michiel Bothma.

After a birdie-birdie start, Strydom collected another birdie at seven and holed an eagle putt at nine to turn five under. He notched his second eagle at the par five 13th before dropping his first shot of the day at 15, but he countered with a birdie at the par five closing hole for 65.

The former South African number one ranked amateur celebrated his fourth victory on the country’s premier golf development circuit in the Race to Q-School Series in November at State Mines. He earned the 10th spot in the top 10 of the Race to Q-School Order of Merit with a tie for ninth in the season-finale of the Q-School prep series that meant he could ship First Stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Q-School.

But things went a little awry in the final round of the Final Stage at Randpark Golf Club in March.

“I was really well placed after four rounds,” he said. “I shot rounds of 72, 71, 72 and 73 and I was tied for 22nd going into the final round.

“I made a dreadful start with a double bogey at the first and bogey at the second and I battled all day to stop the bleeding. I shot three bogeys in a row to finish and ended up shooting 82, finishing well outside the top 30 that got their cards.

“One round cost me a card, so the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour is a huge lifeline for me. It’s a chance to redeem myself and still get onto the Sunshine Tour this year. And I made a decent start in last week’s event to get inside the top 10 in the Road to Sunshine Tour.

“There are 14 events left and only the top 10 will get cards and that’s where the IGT Challenge Tour is great for us. It keeps us competitive. I’ve got some good form going at the moment and I’m pleased with this start. There are a lot of rookies on my tail who are also gunning for the 10 cards to the Sunshine Tour, so it’s important to get off to a solid start.”