Golf 2.8.2016 08:30 pm

Park pushes in front at Ebotse Challenge

Carrie Park; credit CJ du Plooy

Carrie Park; credit CJ du Plooy

It must be something in the water on the East Rand, because it seems that Carrie Park always saves her best golf for Ekurhuleni.

Just a few months ago, the pintsized rookie shared the 36-hole lead in the ERPM Challenge in Boksburg. Today, Park fired a flawless five under 67 to leapfrog first round pacesetter Duane Kean for the outright lead in round two of the IGT Tour’s Ebotse Challenge in Benoni.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner moved to two-under-par 142 and she will start the final round with a one shot cushion over Keun, who returned a 74.

Local pro Brandon Pieters rallied with a 68 after opening with a frustrating 76 to join Pretoria amateur Philip Kruse (71) at even-par 144, while Ebotse junior Jayden Schaper and Benoni Lake pro Pieter Moolman matched each other with 73s to finish a further stroke adrift in joint fifth with yet another local, Dean O’Riley (71), and amateur Etienne Janse van Rensburg.

While her first round scorecard was marred by a triple and two bogeys, Park made the best of the sunny weather on day two. She turned two under after birdies at one and nine and dipped five under par with further gains at 13, 15 and 18.

“I would have to say that the biggest difference was the weather,” said Park.

“We played in freezing temperatures in the first round and the wind was absolutely howling. It was at least a three-club wind and although I barely missed a fairway, it made club selection into the greens really tough.

“This course is extremely tight and it has so many slopes, so accuracy and consistency is key to scoring here. Today I hit all the fairways and almost every green in regulation and I got a couple of putts to drop.”

The South Korean player was one of the first female golfers to start campaigning on the country’s premier development circuit three years ago.

She did all her preparation for her pro debut on the unisex Tour and once the Sunshine Ladies Tour wrapped up in March, Park returned to the IGT Tour and she has been laying the groundwork for a maiden breakthrough ever since. In addition to a second place finish at the ERPM Challenge and third in the Houghton Challenge, the GFG Academy player has top five finishes in three other events since May and she has only finished outside the top 20 once.

Park is heading to the United States in two weeks with Nobuhle Dlamini and Francesca Cuturi to compete in the first stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying School later this month. Another solid finish will go a long way in building her confidence for golf’s most gruelling test.

“Going to Q-School is a massive expense,” Park said “The entry fee alone is R40,000 and I estimate spending about R100K with the travel, accommodation, practice rounds and so on. I definitely want to be at my best when I play Mission Hills.

“I’ve always been pretty straight off the tee, but I’ve worked really hard the last five months to gain more distance and to improve my putting. I’m pleased with the results, but there is always room for improvement.”

Park dominated the South African amateur scene and the former Sanlam SA Amateur Match Play and Stroke Play champion was ranked number one in the country when she turned pro last year.

“My game has come on in leaps and bounds since last November,” Park said. “My game has matured a lot and I gained a lot of experience from playing with the likes of Bertine (Strauss), Ashleigh (Simon) and Lee-Anne (Pace) on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in the summer. I’ve also learned a lot from competing against the guys on the IGT Tour because men approach the game differently. I like to watch how they approach the hole and how they get themselves out of trouble and apply that to my own game.”

If Park succeeds on Wednesday, she will become the first female champion on the IGT Tour since the tour launched in 2010.

“Wow, talk about pressure,” she laughed. “Seriously, I’m not focussed on that. I just want to hit every fairway and green, because in the long run, accuracy and consistency wins you tournaments.”

 

SECOND ROUND SCORES

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

142 – Carrie Park 75 67

143 – Duane Keun 69 74

144 – Brandon Pieters 76 68, Phillip Kruse AMA 73 71

145 – Pieter Moolman 72 73, Jayden Schaper AMA 72 73, Etienne Janse van Rensburg AMA 75 70, Dean O’Riley 74 71

146 – Gregg Blainey (ENG) 74 72, Wesley Baptiste AMA 76 70, Nicole Garcia 73 73, Simon Kruger 74 72

147 – Jonathan Waschefort 77 70, Coert Groenewald 76 71

149 – Martin Rohwer 75 74, Terence Boardman 76 73, Hilton Hughes AMA 73 76

150 – Armand van Dyk AMA 76 74

151 – Matt Bright 81 70, Ivanna Samu AMA 77 74, Tristen Strydom AMA 77 74, Teagan Moore 76 75

152 – Phumlani Maluka AMA 79 73, Jacques de Villiers 79 73, Joshua Seale 73 79, Altaaf Bux 78 74, Bradley Diggeden AMA 78 74, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWA) 76 76

153 – Shaun Barrett AMA 74 79, Leon Visser AMA 77 76, Shaun van Tonder 75 78

154 – Ray Badenhorst (ZIM) 83 71, Matthew Spacey 75 79, Eric Nel AMA 81 73

155 – Matthew Vogel 83 72, Damian Naicker 76 79, JP Schmidt AMA 78 77

156 – Stephan Erasmus AMA 81 75

157 – Bryce Myburgh 81 76, Dwayne Coetzee 80 77

158 – Tiaan Swart AMA 80 78, Chris van Tonder AMA 79 79, WM Coetzee AMA 78 80, David Nortje AMA 84 74

159 – Karl Lehmacher AMA 80 79, Johan van der Wath 76 83, Lourens du Plessis 86 73, Albert Visser AMA 77 82

Missed the cut:-

160 – Shaun Mackeown AMA 79 81, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 79 81

162 – Jandre Fullard AMA 75 87, Dylan Docherty 83 79

163 – Michael Kok AMA 85 78, Duan Nagel AMA 86 77, Nico du Buisson AMA 81 82

164 – Craigen Clough AMA 91 73, Richard Kruger AMA 86 78, Marco de Beer AMA 91 73

165 – Xander Basson AMA 78 87, Gary Daoust (BEL) 82 83, Mae Cornforth 90 75, Michael Schutz 83 82

166 – Nicklas van Wyk AMA 82 84, Nikola Uskokovic AMA 82 84

168 – Marc de Jager AMA 82 86

169 – Tristan Nel AMA 87 82, Tommie Brits AMA 81 88

172 – Kyle Opperman AMA 91 81

173 – Scott Newell AMA 88 85

175 – Keaton Slatter AMA 97 78, Pierre le Roux AMA 85 90, Jordan Parsons AMA 84 91

176 – Liam Bezuidenhout AMA 88 88

177 – Jadrick Fourie AMA 96 81

182 – Schalk du Plessis AMA 95 87

199 – Ridwaan Noor Mahomed AMA 96 103

WDN – Adriel Poonan AMA 85 WDN

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