TSHWANE, 29 July 2014 – Several pros made a hard charge for the lead in the second round of the IGT Tour’s Race to Asian Q-School, but it was the amateurs who stole the thunder on another tough scoring day at Centurion Country Club on Tuesday.
University of North Texas senior Jason Roets (pictured by CJ du Plooy) fired a five-under-par 67 to take pole position at four under 140, but TuksSport Golf Academy member Teaghan Gauche responded with a 69 to match his early target.
Overnight leader Keegan de Lange kept in touch with a 74 to finish one off the pace. The 17-year-old shares third with fellow amateur, Hendrikus Stoop and pro Juan Swart, who signed for respective rounds of 68 and 72.
Top amateur NJ Arnoldi is in the mix for a second successive week after carding a 70 and lurks two off the pace with Coert Groenewald, who grabbed a share of fifth with a 69.
Roets, who has been in the United States since he was 14, had a three year stint at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy before he earned a scholarship to the University of North Texas.
The 21-year-old Joburg golfer hopes to follow a tie for third in the first Race to Asian Q-School at Waterkloof Golf Club with a podium finish at Centurion before he returns to the States next week.
Roets got off to a birdie start and immediately cancelled a bogey at the second with a tap-in eagle putt at the par-three 12th.
He drained a downhill 12-footer at the par-four 16th to go three under and, after lagging a long putt close at the first, knocked in another short putt for birdie.
“It was really great to get on the green in two at the 18th and to finish with another birdie after seven straight pars, but you really can’t afford to get impatient around here,” Roets said.
“The greens at Centurion are very slick and fast and you can’t really get aggressive, so it was nice to get off to a fast start and not to have to force things.
“I still left a few putts begging, but you really can’t get hung up on those. I’m looking forward to the final round and hopefully I can take one of those eagle trophies back to the States.”
Although a three-putt bogey at the ninth cost him the lead, Gauche was equally pleased to be in contention.
“You can’t sweat the small stuff,” the Wingate Park golfer said. “It’s tough to score at Centurion in the winter and the greens are especially fast this week. You simply can’t get aggressive.
“I’m just really thrilled to be back in contention, because it’s been a long road back since my car accident in December. It’s going to be great to do head-to-head with Jason.
“There are a lot of really good golfers chasing our tails, so it could get pretty tense out there.”
All eyes will be on four-time IGT Tour winner this season, Antonio Rosado.
The Portuguese player is renowned for winning from behind and the Villamoure professional was in red hot form after the turn. He reeled in five successive birdies from the fifth to claim the low round of the day with a 66 and climbed joint 11th on even-par 144.