Young guns Matthew Spacey and Bryce McCabe will take a two-shot advantage into the final round of the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School #8 after contrasting rounds carried them to the top of the leaderboard at Killarney Golf Club on Tuesday.
Just a day after McCabe took charge in the first round with an eagle at 15, a three from Spacey at the same par five rocketed the Dainfern pro into a share of the lead at three under 137.
Both players surrendered three shots, but Spacey turned level-par courtesy of a trio of birdies in his first five holes. The 25-year-old also birdied 16 and solid pars at the closing holes saw him home in three-under-par 67.
‘I drove the ball really well today, so I was in good position from the fairways and if you do that around this course, you’re going to hit it close a few times,’ said the Tuks Sport Golf Academies player.
‘I only missed one fairway and three greens today and that made all the difference. It wasn’t pretty on the front nine, to be honest. It was a bit of a struggle, but I hung in there and made the most of my chances on the back nine.
‘I hit a good drive down the 15th fairway and a seven-iron to 20 feet and holed eagle putt and at 16, I hit two-iron through the fairway and a nine-iron stiff to set up the birdie putt. But I didn’t up-and-down to save par after I left it short at nine and the three-putt at 11 was annoying. The eagle and birdie combo and the two pars to finish turned an average round into a good one.
‘There is a huge demand on accuracy off the tee at Killarney and I’m happy that I hit it well off the tee today. I didn’t make too many mistakes and that’s left me in a great position to target a second win this season. Hopefully I can keep it going.’
McCabe’s day, by comparison, was more of a grind.
He overturned a bogey start with a birdie at the second, gained another shot at the fifth, but bogeyed seven and nine to turn one over. The 23-year-old Wanna Be A Champion player stayed patient and received his just rewards with birdies at 14 and 16, but unfortunately a double bogey at 18 obliterated his two-shot lead and he finished with a one over 71.
‘Although I didn’t play anywhere near as well as I did on the first day, but I am pleased that I stayed patient because it could have got away from me on that front nine,’ McCabe said. ‘Today was all about waiting for the good shots to come along, and fortunately they did later in the round.
‘The double at the last was a blow, but I’ve put it behind me. I’m still in the running and that’s all I need to focus on in the final round.’
The leaders could come under fire from the quartet at one under, including Englishman Greg Blainey, Damian Naicker, Terence Boardman and Werner van Wyk.
Blainey offset three bogeys with four birdies for a 69, Boardman also eagled the 15th on his way to a 70, Race to Q-School Money List leader Naicker reeled in nine straight pars on the back nine for a 72 and Van Wyk finished with a four-birdie flurry for a 67 that rocketed him into the mix at one under.
Further down the leaderboard, former top-ranked amateur Ivanna Samu showcased her burgeoning talent with a round of 70 to join Dean O’Riley, Ruan Conradie and Coert Groenewald at level-par.
By Lali Stander
Second Round Scores
137 – Bryce McCabe 66 71, Matthew Spacey 70 67
139 – Terence Boardman 69 70, Gregg Blainey (ENG) 70 69, Damian Naicker 67 72, Werner Van Wyk 72 67