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Groenewald wins a seventh IGT Challenge Tour title

Groenewald

Coert Groenewald stole a march on the field in the Race to Q-School #16 to bag his seventh IGT Challenge Tour title at State Mines Golf Club on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old from Roodepoort fired a flawless six-under-par 66 to seal a three-shot victory on 13-under-203 over Alrich Labuschagne, Paul Boshoff and leader Gregg Blainey from England.

Groenewald has knocked several times during the 18-event preparation series for the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and was pleased with the timely win.

‘D-Day is less than a month away, so this is the perfect time to start winning,’ he said. ‘I had a couple of close calls, so to pull it through this close is great. It’s nice to take some confidence into the last two Race to Q-School events.’

Groenewald posted rounds of 70 and 67 and lagged two off the pace from joint overnight leaders Blainey and Thriston Lawrence starting the last day.

Both Lawrence and Blainey backpedalled over the first nine holes, and Groenewald was able to close the gap with birdies at seven, nine and 10. Further gains at 13, 15 and 18 lifted him to the top of the pile.

He said he battled with the driver and three-wood, but he found some good rhythm with his irons. ‘I hit the driver and the three-wood like a dog over all three rounds, but my iron play was really solid and I gave myself a lot of chances,’ he said. ‘I didn’t make any spectacular saves or long birdie putts, all six birdies were pretty standard, but I did leave at least seven birdies out there. It certainly could have been better, but I’ll take the win any day.’

Groenewald campaigned on the country’s premier development circuit from 2012 and graduated to the Sunshine Tour three years later.

‘Unfortunately I didn’t keep my card; I missed the cut-off by a few rand,’ he said. ‘So I went back to Q-School for 2016, but I was deadly ill in Bloemfontein over the first two days and it cost me dearly.

‘It’s been a long and frustrating season since then, especially after they moved the Q-School from December to March.

‘It’s tough when you’ve been there and then have to wait out a whole season to have another stab at Q-School. Playing on the IGT Challenge Tour has kept me competitive and the Race to Q-School gives me a chance to go straight to the Final Stage. I’m lying third on the Order of Merit and the top five are exempt into the Final Stage, so I’m going to fight hard to protect that third spot in the last two tournaments.

‘It’s really fantastic that we are playing the Final Stage at Randpark. I played a lot of amateur golf there and it’s a great track. It’s also nice to sleep in your own bed and have some home comforts during Q-School, because it’s the toughest week of the season.’

Blainey closed with a 71 to tie for second on 206, while Boshoff shot 69 and Labuschagne shot up the leaderboard with a superb 66.

Picture of Groenewald courtesy of CJ du Plooy

Final Result
All competitors SA unless otherwise indicated and amateurs indicated as AMA
203 – Coert Groenewald 70 67 66
206 – Alrich Labuschagne 70 70 66, Paul Boshoff 70 67 69, Gregg Blainey (ENG) 70 65 71
207 – Jonathan Waschefort 69 70 68
208 – Dean O’Riley 72 67 69, Martin Dewhurst (ENG) 68 68 72, Thriston Lawrence 69 66 73
209 – Estiaan Conradie 76 65 68, Andi Dill 70 69 70
211 – Vaughn van Deventer AMA 74 68 69, Dwayne Coetzee 74 70 67, Leon Visser AMA 67 73 71, Matt Bright 69 68 74
212 – Ruan Conradie 77 67 68, JP Rousseau AMA 70 71 71, Ruan Korb AMA 72 74 66, Christopher van der Merwe AMA 71 68 73, Wayne Stroebel 67 70 75
213 – Duane Keun 75 68 70, Philip Geerts AMA (ITA) 69 70 74, Jabulane Mabilane 73 73 67, Jacques De Villiers 72 67 74
214 – Matthew Spacey 75 68 71, Kyle Barker 73 68 73, Mpho Mafishe 71 74 69, David Ashley (ENG) 70 71 73, Paul de Beer 69 72 73, Justin Turner 72 69 73, Quintin Crause 69 72 73
215 – CJ Levey 74 70 71, Shaun van Tonder 71 72 72, Terence Boardman 74 73 68
216 – Michael Kok AMA 74 70 72, Gilson Filho (BRA) 73 69 74, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 75 70 71, Norman Beggs 75 71 70, Fanie Wolmarans AMA 73 74 69, Michael Schutz 78 69 69
217 – Dylan Docherty 74 69 74, Juan Langeveld 71 71 75, Thabi Ngcobo 77 68 72, Joubert van Eeden 74 67 76
218 – Christian Basson AMA 74 69 75, Bradley Van Biljon AMA 70 74 74, Chase Paton AMA 74 72 72, WM Coetzee AMA 75 71 72, Gary Daoust (BEL) 73 74 71
219 – Michael Dreyer 69 73 77, Craigen Clough AMA 70 75 74, John McClean (NIR) 76 71 72, Bryce Myburgh 77 71 71
220 – Aneel Kallan AMA 72 72 76, Jadrick Fourie AMA 72 73 75, Richard O’Donovan (IRE) 74 72 74, Stephan de Beer 77 70 73
221 – Divan Marais 69 76 76
222 – Shalan Govender 75 69 78, Shaun Barrett AMA 76 72 74
223 – Stephan du Toit AMA 73 73 77, Arno Pretorius AMA 76 72 75, Niel Theron AMA (NAM) 80 68 75
227 – Steven Jacobs AMA 75 71 81, Reinard Vermeulen AMA 78 70 79
N/R – Clinton Grobler 71 71 N/R


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