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Haig has his eyes firmly focused on IGT hat-trick
- Updated: May 18, 2016
Anton Haig is closing in on an IGT Tour hat-trick after moving well clear of the chasing pack in the second round of the Ruimsig Challenge on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Nelspruit golfer was in majestic form as he reeled in five birdies and an eagle at the par five ninth to post a flawless seven-under-par 65 at Ruimsig Country Club. Haig’s sublime display lifted him to 12-under-par 132 and he will start the final round four shots clear of Ladybrand pro Duane Keun, who signed for a four under 68.
First round leader Simon Kruger returned a 71 to finish five off the pace, while a 69 moved Korean DK Kim to fourth on six under. Damian Naicker shot a 67 to grab a share of fifth alongside amateur Ryan Wingrove and former IGT Tour winner David Ashley from England, who both registered 68s.
Haig took pole position after racking up a trio birdies from the fourth and he turned in six under after a birdie-eagle combination at the eighth and ninth holes.
‘I hit the ball close on the front nine, but just couldn’t convert for a birdie over the first eight holes on the back nine,’ Haig said. ‘It was a little frustrating, sure, but I was rewarded for my patience with the birdie at 18.’
Haig launched his comeback on the country’s premier development Tour in February after more than two years out of the game and he set himself a couple of goals.
‘I wanted to start at the bottom and work my way back to the main circuit,’ Haig said. ‘When you are out of the game as long as me, you forget how to win and you need to train yourself to handle the pressure. I wanted to put myself in contention as much as possible to get back that competitive edge.’
Haig started off with three top 10 finishes, followed with four top fives and then came the back-to-back victories in the ERPM Challenge and Houghton Challenge.
‘This is exactly what I was aiming for and I’m really pleased with how the season is going,’ Haig said. ‘I’m enjoying the challenge and the chase. It’s important that I do this it at my own pace and the IGT Tour allows me to do that.’
Haig is striking the ball with the kind of freedom that saw him dominate the amateur circuit in South Africa and he is re-gaining the self-confidence that earned him victories on the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours between 2004 and 2007.
‘I feel that I am definitely heading in the right direction,’ he said. ‘It’s important to make the most of the IGT Tour to prepare for the Sunshine Tour. If I get any invitations to play on other Tours, I want to be physically and emotionally ready to make the most of it. I don’t see the point of running before you can walk. Right now, I’d say I am building up to a comfortable trot.’
Picture of Haig courtesy of CJ Du Plooy
SECOND ROUND SCORES
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA
132 – Anton Haig 67 65
136 – Duane Keun 68 68
137 – Simon Kruger 66 71
138 – Dongkwan Kim (KOR) 69 69
139 – David Ashley (ENG) 71 68, Damian Naicker 72 67, Ryan Wingrove AMA 71 68
140 – Johary Raveloarison (MDG) 69 71
141 – NJ Arnoldi 71 70, Terence Boardman 69 72, Louis Taylor 71 70, Michael Schutz AMA 73 68
142 – Michael Kok AMA 71 71, Ruan Korb AMA 69 73
143 – Werner Van Wyk 70 73, Eric Nel AMA 75 68, Matthew Spacey 77 66, Ricky Hendler AMA 71 72, Billy Greyvenstein AMA 70 73
144 – Dwayne Coetzee 73 71
145 – Clinton Grobler 73 72, Hilton Hughes AMA 74 71, Dylan Docherty 71 74, Fritz Orren AMA 73 72, Sean Coomer AMA 73 72
146 – Cameron Nesmith AMA 76 70, Cole Dodgen AMA 73 73
147 – Brendan Britten (NAM) 77 70, Stephan Erasmus AMA 75 72, Jacques De Villiers 74 73, Stephan De Beer 76 71
148 – Calvin Caldeira 74 74, John McClean (NIR) 76 72, Russel Franz 74 74, Carrie Park 73 75, Coert Groenewald 75 73, Michael Van Rooyen 74 74, Graeme Limper AMA 76 72, Warren Pretorius AMA 74 74
149 – Ivanna Samu AMA 74 75
150 – Maritz Wessels 77 73, Bryce Myburgh 77 73, Craigen Clough AMA 78 72
151 – Khaya Jika 73 78, Albert Visser AMA 75 76
152 – Lejan Lewthwaite 76 76, Shaun van Tonder 74 78, Divan Marais 78 74, Zander Potgieter 78 74, Alpheus Kelapile 81 71
153 – Craig Dreyer 78 75, Hein Dreyer AMA 75 78
154 – Tumie Motale 78 76, Jared Kwant AMA 80 74