Tristen Strydom’s (pictured) purple patch continued as he lit up Wingate Park Country Club to rocket within striking distance of Jaco Prinsloo in the second round of the IGT Tour’s Race to QSchool #11 on Tuesday.
Pretoria’s Prinsloo fired a six under 66 to move to the head of affairs at 10 under 134. The Sunshine Tour campaigner leads by two from overnight leader Johary Raveloarison from Madagascar, who stayed in the mix with a 69.
However, both players were eclipsed by Strydom.
The 19-year-old Garsfontein golfer racked up nine birdies for a flawless nine-under-par 63. He will start the final round three shots shy of Prinsloo and in a great position to hunt back-to-back victories on the country’s premier golf development Tour.
‘Tristen and I pushed each other all the way and we went around in 15 under,’ said Prinsloo. ‘He started with two birdies, but when I eagled the second hole, he told me I was making it tough for him to catch me.
‘Then I birdied the third hole and the chase was on. He is striking the ball unbelievably well and he just kept peppering the flags. I think he will be will be the guy to beat.’
Prinsloo birdied the sixth to go four under, but missed a four-footer for par at the seventh. He added birdies at 10, 13, 15 and 18, but only after he dropped another shot at the short 16.
‘We had 150 metres to the pin and I hit a wedge, but flew the green and I couldn’t up-and-down to save par,’ Prinsloo said.
‘The rest of the round was really solid. I switched to an Odyssey Proto Type putter at the Sun City Challenge in August and I’m really enjoying the pace I get with this putter. The game felt really solid and the putter is behaving well.’
The GFG Academy player wrapped up his fourth Sunshine Tour season with a 70th place ranking on the final Order of Merit, but never misses the chance to support the IGT Tour.
‘The guys think I’m mad to be playing this week, but I cut my teeth on the IGT Tour and it’s always great to come back and reconnect with everyone,’ he said. ‘I’m having a lot of fun and hopefully I can keep Tristen in the rear-view mirror tomorrow and earn some bucks for the holidays.’
Strydom made the most of an invitation to play the Sunshine Tour’s Lion of Africa Open to leave the Mother City with a cheque worth R15,000 and last week, he claimed his third IGT Tour title in the Race to Q-School #10 at Sun City.
However, the big-hitting rookie stated that his focus is on scoring, not winning.
‘I’ve hit a couple of 63s here at Wingate Park in the past, so I expected to go low,’ he said. ‘I didn’t birdie the two par fives on the back nine, so it should have been better, but after a 63 I’m not going to complain.
‘The Asian Tour Q-School is just three weeks away, so I’m not thinking about winning. I’m taking it shot for shot and I am trying to hit as many fairways and greens as possible. It’s all about the stats, making the shots and getting the ball in the hole right now.
‘I just want to go to Bangkok with the best game possible. That’s why I enjoyed playing Jaco today. He really pushed me to up my game, but I still had fun. It should be a great final round with Jaco, Joe (Johary) and I going up against each other.’
By Lali Stander
Second round scores:
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as AMA.
134 – Jaco Prinsloo 68 66
136 – Johary Raveloarison (MDG) 67 69
137 – Tristen Strydom 74 63
138 – Philip Geerts AMA (ITA) 68 70, Gregg Blainey (ENG) 69 69, Ruan Korb AMA 68 70