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Golf | SA

Pieter Moolman © CJ du Plooy

Moolman edges clear at Centurion



Pieter Moolman from Ekurhuleni will want to stay well clear of the chasing pack when he starts the final round of the 12th first Race to Q-School event at Centurion County Club on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Benoni Lake golfer will be looking to convert a two-shot lead into victory after he secured the top spot at 10-under-par 144 with four birdies, a lone bogey at 17 and 12 pars.

The 18-event IGT Challenge Tour series is geared at preparing amateur hopefuls and young professionals for the gruelling Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in March and Moolman came close to victory in the first two events.

He was pipped by Race to Q-School Order of Merit leader Estiaan Conradie at the series-opener at The Els Club Copperleaf and, after making a strong charge in the second event in Pecanwood, came up short and had to settle for joint third.

With two shots in hand after rounds of 65 and 69, the HPC Tuks Golf Academy player is determined not be denied again.

“I graduated the IGT Challenge Tour in 2012, but I lost my card at the end of 2015 and really determined to play myself back this year,” said Moolman. “I feel like I have my game is at an even higher level than it was when I competed on the Sunshine Tour.

“I need a couple of strong finishes, though to guarantee a top 10 spot in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit. Q-School is the toughest two weeks of the year. It will take a lot of pressure off if I can finish in the top 10 and get straight into Final Stage.

“I’m striking the ball well and the putter is working, too. I’m in a good position for the final round, so maybe it will be third time lucky this week.”

Western Province rookie Sean Bradley, English veteran Neil Cheetham and Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner Nobuhle Dlamini shared the low round honour on five-under 67.

Bradley joined Tshwane rookie Albert Venter in second at eight-under, while Cheetham shares fourth with Gary Player School of 2017 member Makhetha Mazibuko, Zabastian de Jager and Italy’s Philip Geerts at seven-under.

Overnight leader Venter carded an even-par 72, Mazibuko and De Jager registered a pair of 69s and Geerts returned a 71.

IGT Challenge Tour winners Aubrey Beckley, Tristen Strydom and Roberto Lupini posted respective rounds of 71, 69 and 68 to finish a further stroke with another Gary Player School of 2017 member, Irvin Mazibuko, who signed for 71.

Swaziland’s Dlamini, who is using the event to prepare up for the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open, vaulted from joint 57th to join the bus at four-under courtesy of half-a-dozen birdies.



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