A couple of very familiar faces – IGT Tour graduates Breyten Meyer and Hennie du Plessis – dominated the first round leaderboard in the eighth Race to Q-School, presented by GFG Academy at Irene Country Club on Wednesday.
Meyer from Southern Cape and Limpopo’s Du Plessis finished first and second respectively in the penultimate event in the Race to Q-School series, just 12 months after both players used the series to play their way on to the Sunshine Tour.
“Last year Breyten and I were out here putting the final touches on our games ahead of Q-School,” said Du Plessis from the GFG Academy, who won the 2014 Sunshine Tour Qualifying School.
“I almost can’t believe a full season has passed. Since we both missed the qualifier for the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Tuesday, we decided to finish the season on the IGT Tour. Ultimately, this is where it all started for both of us, and it feels like coming home.”
Meyer mixed two bogeys with four birdies and eagled the par-five 17th to edge into a one stroke lead with an opening five-under-par 67.
Du Plessis reeled in six birdies against a lone bogey to turn five under, but slipped into second with a 68 after back-to-back bogeys at two and three and a final birdie at seven.
Fellow GFG Academy player Pieter Kruger opened with a 69 to take sole third.
Six players, including IGT Tour winners Russel Franz and amateur David Ashley are in the six-man bus at two under 70.
“It’s really kind of nice to see our names at the top of the leaderboard,” Meyer from Kingswood said.
“I hope Hennie and I can fire up the guys that are heading to Bloemfontein in two weeks. Qualifying School is really tough. It taxes you mentally and physically and it really is as gruelling as the sports writers always describe it.
“These last two tournaments last year gave me a lot of confidence ahead of Qualifying School and hopefully it will do the same for the guys competing this week.”
Du Plessis said he is happy not to repeat the Q-School ordeal.
“I am just so relieved that I kept my card this year and I don’t have to go through that again. It’s really nice to play this week with no pressure. It’s great to just enjoy being back on the IGT Tour and to motivate the other fellows from GFG Academy.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES
67 – Breyten Meyer
68 – Hennie Du Plessis
69 – Pieter Kruger
70 – Terence Boardman, David Ashley (ENG), Michael Kok (ama), Beyers Smith, Russel Franz, Jaco Prinsloo
71 – Gideon Pienaar, JP Schmidt (ama), Jonathan Waschefort, Shaun Carter (ama) (IRE), Jason Froneman, Rosswell Sinclair (ama), Stefan Engell Andersen (KEN), Siphiwe Siphayi
72 – Chris Van Tonder (ama), Eddie Taylor, Bryn Flanagan, Ruan Huysamen (NAM), Dylan O’Leary, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Peter Wilson (ENG), Matt Bright, Dylan Docherty, Tjaart Van Wyk (ama)
73 – Shaun van Tonder, Christof Appel, Christiaan Pretorius, Stephan Erasmus (ama), Desne van den Bergh, TJ Bekker, Glen de Waal (NAM), CJ Levey (ama), Philip Geerts (ama) (ITA), Jacques Kruyswijk
74 – Albert Visser (ama), Tommie Brits (ama), Jaco Mouton, Clinton Cheia, Johnathan Agren (SWE), Louis Taylor (ama), Dean O’Riley, Roux Jeffery (NAM), Duane Keun, Jason Diab, Gavin Miles, Lean Boezaart, Wayne du Toit, Quintin Crause (ama)
75 – Arno Pretorius (ama), Herman Minnie, Dwayne Coetzee, Divan Marais (ama), Jeff Hopkins (ama) (IRE), Rae Mackie, Warrick Moonieyan, JC Van Dommelen, Jacques De Villiers, Justin Levy (NLD), Khaya Jika, Werner Van Wyk (ama)
76 – Ruan Conradie (ama), Amerigo Renieri (ama), Brendan Britten (NAM), Simon Kruger, Andi Dill (ama), Michael Armstrong (ama), Conway Kunneke
77 – Jason Ackerman (ama), Pedro August, Stef Visage, Zabastian De Jager (ama), Gerard Du Plooy, Shaun Bernstein (ama), Matthew Adams (ama), Tyron Mc Comb, Wayne Stroebel, Joubert Van Eeden, Keanan Aysen (ama)
78 – Gareth Akers, Michael Van Hoeck (ama) (BEL), Stephane Van Neer (ama) (COD), Ryan Wingrove (ama), Gareth Atkinson (ama), Duan Nagel (ama), Angus Ellis-Cole (ama), Ruan Korb (ama), David Lamprecht, Matthew Vogel, Andrew Carlsson (ama), Reynhard Reynecke (ama), Peetie Van Der Merwe (ama)
79 – Phillip Montgomery
80 – Dylan de Beer, Norman Beggs, Hilton Hughes (ama), Igor Milicic (SRB), Shingi Shumba (ZIM), Armandt Scholtz (ama)
81 – Shane Heckler (ama), Matthew Kent, Wicus Bezuidenhout (ama), Godfrey Mphaga, Morne Wolmarans
82 – Lourens Du Plessis, Theodor Oosthuizen (ama)
86 – Jonty B Shelton (ama), Jaco Kok (ama), Dean Schonegevel (ama)
92 – Tumie Motale