TSHWANE, 28 July 2014 – Pretoria’s Keegan de Lange raced to a five-under-par 67 at Centurion Country Club to claim the first round lead at the IGT Tour’s Race to Asian Q-School on Monday.
The 17-year-old Pretoria amateur racked in seven birdies to wipe out a pair of bogeys and finished one shot clear of namesake, Brendan de Lange.
Juan Swart and Jacques de Villiers lag two shots off the pace, while Pieter Kruger, who won the first Race to Asian Q-School at Waterkloof last week, threatens just three off the pace.
Unlike his peers, the fast greens at Centurion didn’t appear to bother De Lange too much.
“I enjoy playing into and putting on fast greens,” the junior golfer said. “The greens here at Centurion are particularly fast. It’s quite difficult to stop the ball, so you have to be accurate into the greens and bring a hot putter.
“It was that kind of day for me; didn’t miss many fairways and my putting was on song.”
De Lange dropped a shot at the par-three 11th when he missed the green, but birdies at the 15th, 16th and 18th took him to the turn in three under.
He picked up two more birdies at the first and third, and cancelled a bogey from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker at the fourth with a chip-in birdie at the par-four fifth. A four at the par-five seventh and pars at the eighth and ninth put him at the top of the leaderboard, but the teenager didn’t realise he was leading till much later in the day.
“As a rule, I never look at the leaderboard out on the course or when I come in to sign my card,” De Lange said. “It’s just something I do so that I can keep the focus on my own game and not worry about my opponents.”
The teenager said he enjoys teeing it up the country’s premier development Tour when he has gaps in his amateur schedule.
“I’m concentrating on the amateur events, but we have a long break now and the IGT Tour is great to keep your game in form,” he said.
“I also really enjoy going up against the pros. They have a lot of experience and you pick up a lot of stuff on course management, especially if you can get close to the leaders.”
The youngster hasn’t given any thought yet to the possibility of winning on the Race to Asian Q-School.
“If I win, I’ll have to sit down and discuss it with my parents,” he said. “I’m still in school, so I wouldn’t consider turning pro just yet. It would be fantastic, though, to get the chance to travel to the Asian Tour Qualifying School and test myself against the pros.
“But it’s early days yet, so there is no point in counting chickens just yet.”
FIRST ROUND GOLF SCORES
67 – Keegan De Lange (AMA)
68 – Brendan De Lange
69 – Juan Swart, Jacques de Villiers
70 – Pieter Kruger
71 – Teaghan Gauche (AMA), Willie Steyn
72 – Jerry Steyn, Otto van Greunen, Hano van der Walt, NJ Arnoldi (AMA), Terence Boardman, Tyron McComb, Jason Froneman (AMA)
73 – Albert Visser (AMA), Rae Mackie, Coert Groenewald, Jason Roets (AMA), Hendrikus Stoop (AMA), DK Kim KOR, Bryn Flanagan (AMA)
74 – Werner Van Niekerk, Michael Dreyer, Gerrit Foster, Conway Kunneke, Wesley Baptiste (AMA), Eduard Van Den Berg (AMA), Rosswell Sinclair (AMA), Ryan Clarke
75 – Divan Marais (AMA), Ted Hendriks, James Searson, Jonathan Raphunga, Niel Meyer (AMA), Ruan Huysamen NAM
76 – Arno Bartholoma (AMA), Herman Minnie, Christiaan Pretorius, Jaco Mouton, Duane Keun
77 – Wayne du Toit, Alwyn Vorster, James Du Preez (AMA)
78 – CJ Levey (AMA), Shika Letoaba, Clinton Cheia (AMA), Andi Dill (AMA), Antonio Rosado POR
79 – Ruwan Combrink, Mark Fraser, Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Wayne Stroebel
80 – Arno Pretorius (AMA), Angus Ellis-Cole (AMA), Calvin Caldeira (AMA)
81 – Eric Nel (AMA), Robert Herselman FRA, Peetie Van Der Merwe (AMA), Dwayne Coetzee, Werner Van Wyk (AMA), Kirsten Campbell (AMA), Julian de Wet (AMA)
82 – Jandre Fullard (AMA), Rhoan Gardiner
83 – Quintin Crause (AMA), Pieter Van der Linde (AMA)
85 – Brendon Mossop (AMA), David Lamprecht
86 – Patrick Thompson, Jadrick Fourie (AMA), Marco De Beer (AMA)
87 – Etzard Grimbeek (AMA), Michael Petersen (AMA), Russel Franz
89 – Gustav Gouws (AMA)
92 – Marna De Langen
98 – Ryan Kuhn (AMA)
WDN – Emmanuel Roodt (AMA)