Seven birdies boost Buitendag to Wingate lead | SASCOC - SASCOC

Seven birdies boost Buitendag to Wingate lead


Border’s Jade Buitendag staked a claim on the share of the first round lead in the Wingate Challenge in Tshwane with a sizzling six-under-par 66 on Monday.

The East London golfer leads the way at Wingate Park Country Club alongside local favourite Ruan Korb.

The pair finished two shots clear of seasoned campaigner Pieter Moolman, Michael Schutz and amateur Eric Nel, while former IGT Challenge Tour winner Dean O’Riley and Teagan Moore lurk three off the pace.

In his last visit to Wingate in July, Buitendag carded rounds of 71 and 77 and finished the 54-hole tournament with a disappointing 80. On Monday he produced seven birdies. ‘The difference was that I hit it very well off the tee today and gave myself a lot of chances,’ he said. ‘I rolled the ball really well and that’s how the 66 happened.’

Buitendag joined the KeNako Golf Academy in George as an up-and-coming amateur in 2014 and represented South Africa and Southern Cape, but two months ago, he relocated to Pretoria and joined the HPC Tuks Golf Academy.

‘I started campaigning on the IGT Challenge Tour at the end of June,’ said Buitendag. ‘I’m working on swing changes with Llewellyn van Leeuwen at Tuks and it is so great to have a strong circuit up here where I can stay competitive.

‘I heard about the IGT Challenge Tour from Breyten Meyer and Heinrich Bruiners. Meyer graduated to the Sunshine Tour two years ago and Heinrich is part of the Gary Player Class of 2017 that regularly compete on the IGT Challenge Tour. It was the logical next step on my journey to the Sunshine Tour.

‘It’s all been a pretty major adjustment, but I knew changing my swing would mean hard times. Any time you change your swing, you have to follow a process. I don’t get too hung up on the occasional bad round. When you focus on the process, the results will come – its par for the course. It’s always a difficult road, but success is never easy.’

Korb has been in threatening form since May and the 24-year-old Silver Lakes golfer made a promising start with successive rounds of 66 at the Woodhill Challenge last week, but spoiled his chance of capturing a maiden title on the country’s premier golf development circuit when he signed off with a 79.

Still, Korb has climbed to fifth in the Official Money List, courtesy of seven top 10 finishes in the last nine weeks, including a tie for third at Wingate in July.

Another top 10 finish at Woodhill as only strengthened his resolve to get the monkey off his back.

‘You have to go through a learning curve to win, but I am pretty patient,’ he said. ‘My main goal this season was to put myself into contention and to gain as much consistency as possible. As long as I achieve my goals, I’m happy. The win will come if I give myself constant chances.’

Picture of Buitendag courtesy of CJ du Plooy

First Round Scores
All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
66 – Ruan Korb, Jade Buitendag
68 – Pieter Moolman, Michael Schutz, Eric Nel AMA
69 – Dean O’Riley, Teagan Moore
70 – Leon Visser AMA, Peetie van der Merwe AMA, Jonathan Waschefort
71 – Reynhard Reynecke AMA, Andrew Carlsson AMA, Ruan Conradie, Arno Pretorius AMA
72 – Chase Paton AMA, JP Cooper AMA, Divan Marais, Michael Dreyer, Eric Park (KOR)
73 – Teboho Sefatsa, Estiaan Conradie, Bennie van der Merwe, Juan Langeveld, Owen Grobler, Patrick Thompson
74 – Luke Brown AMA, Leon Vorster AMA, Tertius van den Berg, Clinton Grobler, Maritz Wessels
75 – Richard Joubert AMA, Shaun van Tonder
76 – Marais Visagie, Jadrick Fourie AMA, Lydon Charnley AMA, Luke Kelly, Helary Jules AMA, Christiaan Pretorius, David Mofokeng (LSO), Joubert van Eeden
77 – Matthew Christie AMA, NJ van der Walt AMA
78 – Hendrikus Stoop AMA, Jason Reynolds AMA, Thabi Ngcobo, Gareth Anderson AMA
79 – Quintin Crause, WM Coetzee AMA, Stephan du Toit AMA
80 – Jay Dean Fourie, Divan van der Merwe AMA, Divan de Villiers AMA
81 – Guillaume Bernier AMA
82 – Bruce Buckland AMA
83 – Danie Pretorius
85 – Dylan Morton AMA
88 – Gustav Erasmus
90 – Alex Krebs AMA
95 – Phillip de Waal