Cricket ace Alwyn Vorster got the third Race to Q-School on the IGT Tour off to an explosive start with a flawless five-under-par 67 at Ruimsig Country Club on Monday.
The former provincial cricketer holds a one stroke lead, but will certainly face pressure in the second round from a strong group of challengers at four under, led by South Africa’s number two ranked amateur, Zander Lombard.
A multiple winner on the country’s premier development Tour, Lombard made it through the high-pressure First Stage of European Tour Qualifying School at Ribagolfe in Portugal at the end of September.
The TuksSport Golf Academy member will want keep his game in top shape for the Second Stage Qualifier at Panoramica Golf & Sport Result in Castellon, Spain in two weeks. He racked up seven birdies to offset soft bogeys at the first, 11th and 17th and is bound to come out firing on Tuesday.
Okkie Strydom, another multiple winner on the IGT Tour, Eddie Taylor and amateurs Gareth Ackers and Andi Dill, who claimed last week’s Race to Q-School at Krugersdorp Golf Club, are also in joint second.
Behind the imposing quintet, Portugal’s Antonio Rosado, lurks at three under.
The Vilamoura pro is a five-time IGT Tour winner this season and his last victory came just two weeks ago in the Race to Q-School series opener at Koro Creek Country Club.
Rosado also surrendered no shots on his way a tie for seventh with Andrew McLardy, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Gideon Pienaar, Germany’s Arno Bartholoma and amateur Jason Diab.
A total of 29 players bettered par in the sunny conditions, including Race to Asian Q-School winners Bryn Flanagan and Werner van Niekerk at two under 70 alongside two-time Race to USA winner Russell Franz.
Vorster switched from cricket to golf in 2012 and has been plying his trade on the IGT Tour since.
A lesser man might lie awake overnight, but the 33-year-old from Nooitgedacht is taking it all in his stride.
“I’m not going to worry too much; I did that the last time I led a tournament and shot an abysmal score the next day,” Vorster said.
“I did a lot of stupid things, but learned a lot from the experience. Tonight we are going to celebrate Herman Minnie’s 26th birthday and tomorrow, I’ll stay patient, remind myself to have fun and focus on my own game, which is the only thing I can control out there.”
FIRST ROUND GOLF SCORES
67 – Alwyn Vorster
68 – Eddie Taylor, Zander Lombard (AMA), Gareth Akers (AMA), Andi Dill (AMA), Ockert Strydom
69 – Jason Diab (AMA), Antonio Rosado POR, Andrew McLardy, Bryandrew Roelofsz, Gideon Pienaar, Arno Bartholoma GER
70 – Bryn Flanagan (AMA), Andrew Carlsson (AMA), Marius Meyer (AMA), Armandt Scholtz (AMA), Werner Van Niekerk, Hilton Hughes (AMA), Jaco Prinsloo, Russel Franz, Clinton Grobler
71 – Nicholas Botha (AMA), Stephan Erasmus (AMA), Rae Mackie, Pieter Van der Linde (AMA), Matthew Kent, Hano van der Walt, Ruan Huysamen NAM, Coert Groenewald
72 – Julian de Wet (AMA), John McClean NIR, Roux Jeffery NAM, Billy Greyvenstein (AMA)
73 – Michael Armstrong (AMA), Rosswell Sinclair (AMA), Calvin Caldeira (AMA), Stefan Cronje (AMA), Simon Kruger (AMA), Teaghan Gauche (AMA), Nico Du Buisson (AMA), JC van Dommelen, Graham van den Berg (AMA), JC Ritchie, Matthew Adams (AMA)
74 – Jacques de Villiers, James Garlinge (AMA), Philip Geerts ITA (AMA), Juran Dreyer (AMA), Conway Kunneke, Romano Saincic
75 – Neil Cheetham ENG, Jerry Steyn, Louis Taylor (AMA), Tyron Mc Comb, Duane Keun, Stephan De Beer, Gustav Gouws (AMA)
76 – Wayne du Toit, Nathan Holiday, Lourens Du Plessis, Tiaan Swart (AMA), Divan Van Den Heever, Michael Schutz (AMA)
77 – Shaun van Tonder, Herman Minnie, Christiaan Pretorius, James Searson, Mark Fairbank (AMA)
78 – Dylan de Beer, Hein Barnard (AMA), Martin Uys, Etzard Grimbeek (AMA)
79 – Craig Dreyer, Ralph Landman, Theo Potgieter (AMA), Jonathan Waschefort, Joubert Van Eeden (AMA)
80 – Wianco Cronje (AMA), Dwayne Coetzee, Theodore Tanski
81 – Adam Le Roux (AMA), Mzothando Mgodeni, Jacques Ungerer
82 – Quintin Crause (AMA), Ryan Wingrove (AMA), Ruggero Signorini (AMA)
83 – Wendall Pietersen (AMA), Otto van Greunen, Daniel Joubert (AMA)
84 – Josias Leseha, Dylan Raubenheimer (AMA)
95 – Gert Ungerer (AMA)
WDN – Zarko Fabricius (AMA)