20 September 2017

South Africa: Four-Shot Lead As Korb Closes in On Maiden Tour Victory

Overnight leader Ruan Korb is poised for a first IGT Challenge Tour victory after pulling away from the chasing pack in the second round of the Ebotse Challenge on Tuesday.

'I don't want to hear the words "maiden win"; I just want to get on with it,' said the 24-year-old Pretoria golfer, who opened up a four-shot lead over Roberto Lupini on nine-under with a four-under-par 68 at the Ebotse Links layout.

'Of course I'd like to send the monkey to China, but that's not the main focus. I've been here before this season. A trophy would be nice, but consistency is first prize. Trophies won't get me through the qualifiers on the Sunshine Tour; sub-par rounds will.'

Korb began the second round with a one-shot lead over Lupini, a two-time winner since his comeback from surgery in May.

'I didn't have a great start,' said Korb. 'I double-bogeyed the first and dropped the third. I ran late due to traffic and I didn't have time to get to the range. I went with a four-iron, rather than the driver off the first and pulled it into the long grass.

'I found the ball and it came out great and shot straight across the fairway into the thick stuff on the other side. I got it back into the fairway, hit a gap-wedge on the green, but missed the bogey putt.'

Korb pulled his driver at the third, left his approach short and failed to up-and-down for par, but he righted the ailing ship nicely with a run of four birdies from the fifth.

'I two-putted from the fringe at five to start the comeback,' said Korb. 'It pitched behind the flag at six, rolled to 13 feet and I boxed the putt. At seven I went the risky route with the driver, but I hit it great and it flew it down the middle.

'I wanted to hit a knock-down eight-iron, but the wind pushed the ball off-line. I chipped it to six feet and knocked it in the hole. I hit a sand-wedge pin high right to 15 feet at the eighth and got a good read on the putt from Tokkie (van den Berg) to sink that one as well.'

Korb bogeyed nine, but made a superb eagle at the tough par-five 12th and racked up further gains at 14, 16 and 18 to offset a final bogey at 16.

'I was so happy about that eagle,' he said. 'It's such a tough hole. I hit a great tee shot and had 231 metres to the flag. I was in-between clubs because the approach shot was into the wind. I went with a low four-iron and the ball landed pin-high right and on the fringe. It left me with a 15 foot downhill slider, and I got just the right stroke on it.

'Unfortunately my tee shot at 16 got caught in the lip of the fairway bunker. It was impossible to get out and I dropped there, but made up for it with a two-putt birdie at 18. Overall, I'm happy. Two sub-par rounds were what I was targeting. My strategy tomorrow will be exactly the same. I'm not going to play defensively just because I have a four-shot lead.'

Lupini went around in 71 strokes, and amateur Ruhan van Dijk carded 70 to finish a further stroke back. Maritz Wessels finished in fourth at three-under after a 72, and Teboho Sefatsa carded a 72 to close out the top five at two-under.

Second Round Scores

135 - Ruan Korb 67 68

139 - Roberto Lupini 68 71

140 - Ruhan van Dijk AMA 70 70

141 - Maritz Wessels 69 72

142 - Teboho Sefatsa 70 72

143 - Phillip Kruse AMA 70 73

144 - Dean O'Riley 72 72

145 - Mpho Mafishe 74 71, Marcus Smal AMA 75 70

146 - Joubert van Eeden 75 71, Duane Keun 72 74, Arno Pretorius AMA 73 73

147 - Jade Buitendag 76 71, Marthin Scheepers 73 74

148 - Patrick Thompson 73 75, Luke Brown AMA 73 75

149 - Pieter Moolman 77 72, Tertius van den Berg 70 79, Bryce Myburgh 72 77, Conway Kunneke 78 71

150 - Jacques Cloete AMA 76 74

151 - Stals Swart AMA 79 72, Aneel Kallan AMA 76 75

152 - Chase Paton AMA 76 76, Dylan Morton AMA 76 76, Christiaan Pretorius 76 76

153 - Brandon Pieters 70 83, Michael Kok AMA 80 73, JP Schmidt AMA 75 78, Albert Visser 75 78

154 - Aidan Boon AMA 74 80, Christian Basson AMA 78 76

155 - Shaun van Tonder 80 75, Owen Grobler 78 77, Liam Clinton AMA 78 77, JP Rousseau AMA 80 75

156 - Tudor Bismark (ZIM) 79 77, Matthew Hands AMA 78 78

157 - Ricardo Towell 81 76

159 - Pierre le Roux AMA 81 78, Jason Gilliver AMA 79 80

160 - Bradley Diggeden AMA 84 76

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