Strydom seals second IGT Tour title in style

Tristen Strydom continued the amateur dominance of the 2016 IGT Tour season when he swept to a second victory in four weeks at the Wingate Challenge on Wednesday.

The Golf RSA National Squad member represents Ekurhuleni, but his parents lives just a stone’s throw away from Wingate Park Country Club and Strydom spent most of his junior career honing his game at the championship layout. His affinity for the course showed as he reeled in seven birdies to march to six shot victory on 14-under-par 202.

Aubrey Beckley fired a final round 67 to take sole second, five shots ahead of fellow North West amateur Danie van Niekerk, who signed for a 72.

Local amateur Ruan Conradie – already a winner this season – shared fourth on two under with Sunshine Tour player Coert Groenewald and England’s David Ashley. The trio posted respective rounds of 70, 71 and 76.

Strydom held a one shot advantage at the start of the final round, but pulled well clear of the field with a trio of birdies from the second hole. He parred his way through the turn and closed with a flurry of birdies over the last four holes to post a flawless seven-under-par 65.

“That was such an enjoyable round,” said the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate player.

“I felt no pressure out there and I knew when I got in position on the front nine that I could pull it through. I kept a cool head and made sure that I sunk the important putts.

“I hit the ball really well and my distance putting was good, too. Even when I got it slightly wrong, I was able to cosy it up to two or three feet. I played rock solid and it felt like a simple day in the office. I’m most proud of the fact that I didn’t drop a shot all day.”

The victory moved Strydom to sixth in the Order of Merit Rankings, but it’s his stroke average after the last four events that left him brimming with excitement about the future.

“I posted sub-par scores in the last six rounds and that’s great news,” he said. “I plan to play the first stage of the European Tour’s Qualifying School and I just want to keep building on this.

“There’s still work to be done, but I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made since we returned from the Golf RSA National Squad Tour to the United Kingdom two months ago.”

And Strydom is not the only amateur making inroads on the IGT Tour.

When the IGT Tour launched in 2010, the winner’s circle chiefly belonged to rookie professionals or Sunshine Tour campaigners.

However, South Africa’s young pretenders began making their mark in the last two years and when you take away former European Tour champion Anton Haig’s hat-trick of wins and Sunshine Tour regular Ockie Strydom’s four victories this season, the amateurs outperformed their professional peers with victories in nine of the remaining 17 stroke play events.

Estiaan Conradie bagged a trio of titles, Strydom has two and Philip Kruse, Eric Nel and Kyle McClatchie are all first time winners this season alongside Ruan Conradie.

“Competing against the pros definitely helps to take your game to the next level,” Strydom said.

“A lot of our former top amateurs cut their teeth in the pro ranks here on the IGT Tour and they have gone on to perform well on the main Tours, like Haydn (Porteous), Zander (Lombard) and Christiaan (Bezuidenhout). They all rose to the number one spot on the amateur circuit, so the experience gained here definitely puts you ahead of the class.”

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
202 – Tristen Strydom AMA 71 66 65
208 – Aubrey Beckley AMA 72 69 67
213 – Danie Van Niekerk AMA 70 71 72
214 – Ruan Conradie AMA 76 68 70, Coert Groenewald 70 73 71, David Ashley (ENG) 71 67 76
215 – NJ Arnoldi 74 67 74
217 – Matthew Spacey 79 69 69
218 – Phillip Kruse AMA 74 72 72, Graham van der Merwe 71 72 75
219 – Jonathan Waschefort 76 74 69, Stephan Erasmus AMA 79 70 70, Paul Boshoff AMA 76 72 71, Pieter Moolman 74 73 72
220 – Kyle Barker AMA 76 74 70, Francois Coetzee 75 72 73, Combrinck Smit AMA 75 71 74, Estiaan Conradie AMA 76 69 75, Damian Naicker 73 70 77
222 – Werner Van Wyk 74 72 76

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