Meyer marches to IGT Wingate lead

Lali Stander –

TSHWANE, 8 December 2014 – Southern Cape amateur Breyten Meyer took a one stroke lead in the ninth Race to Q-School, while Pieter Cooper took a break from his greenkeeping duties to upstage his teenage children Monday’s first round at Wingate Park Country Club.

Breyten Meyer; credit CJ du Plooy
Breyten Meyer; credit CJ du Plooy

Meyer turned in two under and birdied four of his last six holes for a five-under-par 67 to edge out two-time IGT Tour winner Russel Franz from Pretoria.

Franz carried a one stroke lead into the back nine after birdies at the first, second and ninth. The GFG Academy player birdied 12 and recovered well after a double-bogey at 13 and a drop at 14 to finish on four under, one stroke clear of Coert Groenewald and amateur Ross Sinclair.

Cooper was pivotal to Gauteng North’s B-Section victory in the SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial recently.

The 47-year-old put his golfing prowess on display when he upstaged his son and daughter with a two under 70.

Seventeen-year-old JP, who is ranked third on the country’s Junior Rankings, carded a 76, while 20-year-old Crystal registered a 77.

Meyer is based at the KeNako Academy at Kingswood, but temporarily relocated to Gauteng to campaign in the nine-event Race to Q-School series on the country’s premier development Tour in preparation for the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School next January.

In his first competitive outing against the professionals at Koro Creek in October, the 22-year-old tied for eighth and has since reeled in a further four top 10 finishes, including a tie for third at Modderfontein Golf Club and runner-up finishes at Irene Country Club and Wanderers Golf Club.

Meyer burst from the blocks with back-to-back birdies, dropped a shot at the short fifth, but bounced back with a solid two at the par-three eighth to turn in two under.

He knocked in three birdie putts on the trot and reversed the damage of his second bogey at the 16th with a birdie finish at the par-five closing hole.

“I haven’t been striking the ball all that well in the last couple of tournaments, but my short game has been very sharp and the putter has saved me a few times,” Meyer said.

“It would be fantastic if I can convert for victory this week, but I would be just as happy if I can add another top five finish to my name. The priority is consistent finishes.

“Since we don’t have all that many top amateur tournaments in the Southern Cape, I came to compete on the IGT Tour Race to Q-School series and it was the right decision.”

Meyer said that the IGT Tour provides the perfect platform to balance the support from his coach Roger Wessels, a 12-time international winner and renowned sport psychologist Maretha Claassens.

“The IGT Tour has given me the competitive experience I lacked,” Meyer said.

“The standard is high and the guys are fiercely competitive. I like the challenge and I feel much more prepared for Q-School than I did two months ago.”

Home hero Cooper birdied the first, gave two shots back at the par-four sixth and 10th, and reeled in birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th to tie Rae Mackie for fifth at two under.

“We host the IGT Tour regularly and instead of just preparing the course for them, I decided that since it was the last event, I would also take a stab at it,” Cooper said.

“JP and Crystal both entered, so we have a little side-bet to see who will come out on top. It’s nice to know I can still teach them a thing or two.

“Actually, they both did really well considering JP is still a junior and Crystal is competing against the men, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to come out on the winning side.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES

67 – Breyten Meyer (AMA)

68 – Russel Franz

69 – Coert Groenewald, Rosswell Sinclair (AMA)

70 – Pieter Cooper (AMA), Rae Mackie

71 – Antonio Rosado POR, Stef Visage

72 – Christiaan van der Merwe (AMA), Michael Armstrong (AMA), Justin Brink, Stefan Labuschagne, Lean Boezaart, Calvin Caldeira, Jandre Fullard (AMA)

73 – Burger Heckroodt (AMA), Phillip Kruse (AMA), Siphiwe Siphayi (AMA), Aubrey Barnard, Andi Dill (AMA), Herman Minnie, Philip Geerts ITA (AMA), Niel Meyer, Pieter Kruger, Jacquin Hess, Dwayne Coetzee

74 – Jonathan Raphunga, NJ Arnoldi (AMA), Glen de Waal NAM, Jerry Steyn, Shaun van Tonder, Zak van Zyl

75 – JC van Dommelen, Jaco Mouton, Khaya Jika, Otto van Greunen, Werner Van Niekerk, Armandt Scholtz (AMA), Tristen Strydom (AMA), Joubert Van Eeden (AMA)

76 – Juan Pierre Cooper (AMA), Jacques De Villiers (AMA), Ruan Conradie (AMA), Ralph Landman, Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Jason Diab (AMA), Jacqui Akers (AMA), Carrie Park (AMA), Christiaan Jonck

77 – Marco De Beer (AMA), Alex Botha (AMA), Dylan Docherty (AMA), Leon Scheepers (AMA), Justin Levy NLD, Duane Keun, Simon Kruger (AMA), Jacques de Villiers, DK Kim KOR, David Lamprecht, Crystal Cooper (AMA)

78 – Albert Visser (AMA), Jadrick Fourie (AMA), Andre de Decker (AMA), Keegan Steyn (AMA), Lucas Steyn, Mark Fairbank (AMA), Jason Louw (AMA)

79 – Tyran van Lieshout (AMA), Quintin Crause (AMA), Christiaan Pretorius

80 – Dylan de Beer, Johan de Beer, Sean Burger

81 – Joshua Leo (AMA)

82 – Murray Smit

84 – Tjaart Van Wyk (AMA)

The IGT Challenge Pro Tour launched in 2010 and has fast grown into South Africa’s premier developmental golf tour, offering a tailor-made gateway for amateurs aspiring to join the pro ranks.

The IGT Challenge Pro Tour provides significant financial opportunities and incentives, and statistical feedback with a full playing schedule of 54-hole and 72-hole tournaments in two provinces that enables its members and non-members to perform at a high level in a strong competitive environment.

This year, the country’s development tour will offer four “Race to” segments, each comprising nine consecutive events in a series, followed by a short break.

The segments include the IGT Series, the Race to the USA, the Race to Asia and the Race to Q-School. The new Race to the USA will offer the leading players the chance to challenge for the chance to compete in the United States, while the Race to Asia will offer eight players the opportunity to compete in the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School early next year with a sponsorship worth more than R350,000.

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