Du Plessis and Franz deadlocked at Irene

TSHWANE, 16 March 2016 – Pretoria pro, Russel Franz, and CJ du Plessis from Limpopo took alternate routes to reach 15-under-par 201, but they finish the third round precisely where they started it – joint leaders in the IGT Tour’s Irene Championship on Wednesday.

CJ du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy
CJ du Plessis; credit CJ du Plooy

Lali Stander – The overnight pacesetters began the day at 12 under, and finished three shots clear of Breyten Meyer, Andre de Decker and Pieter Kruger.

Russel Franz; credit CJ du Plooy
Russel Franz; credit CJ du Plooy

Franz notched birdies at one, six and 18 for his 69, but Du Plessis was made to work much harder to overturn the damage of two wayward drives on the back nine.

Having kept pace with Franz through the front nine with birdies at six and seven, Du Plessis edged ahead of his GFG Academy stable-mate with a birdie at the par five 10th.

But the Limpopo pro hit his tee shot out of bounds at 11 and dropped two shots and another bad tee shot at 14 cost him another shot.

Franz couldn’t convert some great irons shots on the back nine and left the door open for Du Plessis to fight his way back into the lead with a trio of birdies at 15, 16 and 17.

“I made a great chip-and-putt for birdie at 15, hit a 60 degree wedge to four feet at the short hole and made the birdie putt and two-putted from 20 feet at the par five for another birdie,” Du Plessis said.

“I hit 16 greens in regulation, so it was pretty frustrating to give three shots away in four holes. But that’s golf; bad shots happen. You just have to get over it really quickly and move on.”

Franz enjoyed the match play feel of the third round, and is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with Du Plessis for the lion’s share of the R66 600 on Thursday.

“I need to spend a little quality time with my putter this afternoon, because we just didn’t see eye to eye today,” Franz said.

“I should rather say that I didn’t see the lines at all and made the putter’s job really hard. I left so many putts in the throat and many just shaved the hole. The greens are rolling beautifully and true, so all the missed opportunities was definitely on me.”

Meanwhile Meyer mixed four birdies with a lone bogey for a 68 to join the three-way tie at 13 under with Kruger ,who also had a lone bogey on his way to a 70, and De Decker, who offset bogeys at seven and 12 with five gains for a 69.

De Decker claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the IGT Tour’s Centurion Open in his only start on the country’s premier development Tour in February and could be the dark horse to watch on Thursday.

SECOND ROUND SCORES

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated as (AMA):

201 – Russel Franz 68 64 69, CJ du Plessis 66 66 69

203 – Breyten Meyer 69 66 68, Andre De Decker 67 67 69, Pieter Kruger 68 65 70

205 – Thriston Lawrence 72 66 67

206 – Matthew Spacey 70 67 69

207 – Coert Groenewald 72 69 66, David Ashley ENG 71 69 67, Mark Murless 72 66 69, Johnathan Agren SWE 70 68 69, Anton Haig 70 66 71

208 – Terence Boardman 71 70 67, Duane Keun 65 73 70, Ruan Huysamen NAM 67 70 71

209 – Paul De Beer 70 71 68, Dean O’Riley 72 69 68, Stuart Smith BOT 68 69 72, Carrie Park 69 68 72

210 – Damian Naicker 69 69 72, Derik Ferreira 64 74 72

211 – Dayne Moore ZAM 70 71 70, Conway Kunneke 69 70 72

212 – Dylan O’Leary 75 67 70, Neal Herman 72 73 67, Andi Dill 71 70 71, Marc Cayeux ZIM 67 69 76

213 – Jaco Prinsloo 70 72 71, Hilton Hughes (AMA) 73 69 71, Werner Van Niekerk 71 70 72, Teagan Moore 72 69 72, Irvin Mazibuko 72 69 72, Matthew Vogel 66 71 76

214 – Jeff Inglis ENG 72 71 71

215 – Michael Schutz (AMA) 70 74 71, Matt Wollman (AMA) ZIM 69 72 74

216 – Gideon Pienaar 71 72 73, Tyron Mc Comb 74 70 72, Teboho Sefatsa 72 70 74, Jonathan Waschefort 75 70 71, Drikus Van der Walt 70 71 75, Juan Langeveld 70 71 75, CJ Levey 73 73 70, Jacques De Villiers 76 71 69

217 – Simon Kruger 70 73 74, Eddie Taylor 69 76 72, Johary Raveloarison MDG 78 68 71, Cameron Esau 75 72 70

218 – Nyasha Muyambo ZIM 78 70 70, Jabulane Mabilane 75 73 70

219 – Louis Taylor 72 72 75, Steven Van Heerden 71 75 73, Eric Nel (AMA) 70 77 72

220 – Nobuhle Dlamini SWA 71 76 73, Bryce McCabe 78 71 71

221 – Leon Visser (AMA) 74 72 75, Matthew Adams (AMA) 72 75 74, Michael Kok (AMA) 71 79 71

223 – Quintin Crause (AMA) 71 74 78, Hendrikus Stoop (AMA) 74 72 77, Marco De Beer (AMA) 73 74 76, Tumie Motale 75 73 75, Wayne Stroebel 76 72 75

Missed the cut:-

224 – Arno Pretorius (AMA) 73 74 77

225 – Armandt Scholtz 71 74 80, Alex Van Heerden (AMA) 72 75 78, Calvin Pearson 71 77 77, Norman Beggs 75 74 76, Lejan Lewthwaite 71 79 75

226 – Romano Saincic 76 73 77, Michelle Leigh 75 76 75

227 – Francesca Cuturi 75 77 75

228 – Juan Swart 68 78 82

231 – Thabang Simon 79 70 82

WDN – Francois Coetzee 70 80 WDN

RTD – Zachary Portemont (USA) 67 70 RTD

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