South Africa: Five Straight Birdies Put Barker Into the Lead

Randpark's Kyle Barker recovered from a mid-round slump to line up a first Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour victory in the ninth event of the season on Tuesday.

Barker was two off the pace after an opening two-under 70 at Kyalami Country Club, but flew straight to the top of the leaderboard with a stirring start of five consecutive birdies.

He let the field back in with a double bogey at seven and two further drops at eight and 11, but rallied with an eagle at the par five 13th and birdies at 15 and 16 for a five-under-par 67 to take back pole position on seven-under.

Barker leads by one shot from Pretoria rookie Ruan Korb, Sunshine Tour campaigner Jason Smith and Paul Boshoff, already a Big Easy IGT winner, with Heinrich Bruiners from the Gary Player School of 2017/2018 and English veteran Neil Cheetham a further stroke adrift.

Barker celebrated his first success on the IGT Challenge when he partnered Dylan Mostert to victory in the Wanderers Betterball Challenge in March last year.

The 20-year-old GolfProWorx player signalled he's ready to challenge for his own silverware on the country's premier golf development circuit after he banked a maiden pro victory on the Mena Tour in October.

Six months passed, though, before he bagged his second victory, beating Sunshine Tour winner JC Ritchie in the season-opener at Killarney Country Club.

A fortnight later, Barker was in ascendancy again when the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour launched in April, but this time he was bested by Mostert, who won the first event at Silver Lakes Country Club.

Coming off a top 10 finish in the Big Easy IGT at Wingate Park last week, Barker is 21st in the Road to Sunshine and hopes he can take it to the finish line on Wednesday.

'If I putt the way I did today and strike the ball a bit better, I would back myself,' said Barker. 'A win would propel me into the top 10 and that's where I aim to be at the end of the season to get a card for the Sunshine Tour.

'I made an amazing start with the five birdies in a row. I didn't hit it all that close, but the putter was on fire and I was holing everything. Unfortunately I pulled my drive left at eight into the trees. I punched out over the green, punched my third over the green, as well, and missed the up-and-down for bogey.

'At the eighth, I missed the fairway left and I was dead behind the trees. The same thing happened at 11, where I had to out again and try to up-and-down from 110 metres. But I made a great putt to save par on 12, and that swung the momentum.

'I smashed my drive down the middle at 13 and parked a 6-iron from 205 metres out five feet from the hole and boxed the putt. I hit two great approaches at 15 and 16 to set up birdies. I hit sand-wedge from 120 metres to 12 foot at 16 and a pitching wedge to 15 foot at 16.

'The putter was definitely the hero and hopefully I can get it red-hot in the final round. But I'll need to strike the ball better, too, with those guys chasing. It's going to be a humdinger.'

Second Round Scores

All competitors SA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as AMA

137 - Kyle Barker 70 67

138 - Paul Boshoff 71 67, Ruan Korb 69 69, Jason Smith 71 67

139 - Heinrich Bruiners 69 70, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 72 67

140 - Derick Petersen 71 69, Dongkwan Kim (KOR) 70 70, Wayne Stroebel 69 71, Makhetha Mazibuko 72 68

141 - Benjamin Follett-Smith (ZIM) 65 76, Duane Keun 70 71, Cameron Moralee 71 70

142 - Luke Brown 72 70, Juran Dreyer 71 71, Dylan Kok 70 72, Rupert Kaminski 71 71

143 - Karl Lehmacher 73 70

144 - Maritz Wessels 69 75, Stefan Wears-Taylor 74 70, Jeff Inglis (ENG) 70 74, Dayne Moore (ZAM) 72 72

145 - Greg Bentley (ZIM) 74 71, Tyran van Lieshout 73 72, Marco de Beer 74 71

146 - Mitchell Lightfoot AMA (a) 73 73, Matthew Spacey 74 72, Dwayne Basson 73 73, Liam Clinton AMA (a) 72 74, Matt Bright 75 71, Conway Kunneke 74 72, Jabulane Mabilane 73 73

Missed the cut:

147 - Leon Vorster 78 69, Thabang Simon 75 72, Stephan Erasmus 73 74, Allister De Kock 75 72, Peetie Van Der Merwe 73 74, Luke Mayo AMA (a) 73 74

148 - Richard Joubert 75 73, Irvin Mazibuko 75 73, Ruhan Van Dijk 71 77, Gianni Pera AMA (a) 73 75, David Rebelo 77 71, Jason Diab 75 73, Matthew Rushton 78 70, Andrew Burmester 77 71, Gary Daoust (BEL) 72 76

149 - Gerard Du Plooy 74 75, Stals Swart AMA (a) 74 75, Jonathan Waschefort 74 75, Dylan Naidoo AMA 77 72

150 - Romano Saincic 75 75, Michael-James Steyn 75 75, Bryce Myburgh 72 78

151 - Divan Marais 77 74, Keanu Pestana AMA (a) 74 77, Nqobani Ndabambi (ZIM) 76 75, Aneurin Gounden AMA 77 74, Quintin Crause 73 78, Fritz Orren 78 73

152 - Andrew Carlsson 77 75, Francois Coetzee 76 76, Stuart Smith (BOT) 76 76, Marcus Smal AMA 78 74, Patrick Thompson 77 75, Hayden Griffiths 74 78, Gilson Filho (BRA) 76 76, Matthew Hands AMA 78 74, Brett Liddle 78 74, Keaton Slatter 77 75

153 - Arno Pretorius 77 76, Caylum Boon AMA 76 77, Jack Rex Duthie 75 78, Armand Van Dyk AMA 78 75

154 - Eric Nel 76 78, Daniel Hammond 76 78, Teboho Sefatsa 76 78, Tumelo Molloyi 79 75, Stephan Du Toit 79 75, Hendrikus Stoop 76 78, Coert Groenewald 77 77, Jason Rossiter 78 76, John McClean (NIR) 77 77, Hanish Nagrani (ZIM) 75 79

155 - Louis Botha 79 76, Garth Wolter 75 80, Antonio Costa (CHL) 75 80, Leon Visser 76 79, Ricardo Towell 84 71

156 - Thabiso Ngcobo 76 80

157 - Ricki Dembo 82 75, Lincon Cele 77 80, Christiaan Pretorius 75 82

158 - Tertius Van Den Berg 83 75, Dean Du Plessis AMA 80 78, Shaun van Tonder 76 82, Christopher De Beer 81 77

159 - Albert Visser 83 76, Alwyn Smit 81 78, Gareth Sargent AMA 83 76, Michael Dreyer 86 73, Alpheus Kelapile 79 80

160 - Shalan Govender 81 79

161 - Adam Baker 79 82, Warric Dyers 88 73

162 - Terence Archibald AMA 79 83, Jonathan George AMA 85 77

164 - Neal Herman 80 84, Byron Garvie 82 82

165 - Nicklas Van Wyk AMA 83 82, Christian MacGregor AMA 80 85

168 - Paulo Serrao (POR) 88 80, Jay Dean Fourie 88 80

WDN - CJ Levey 80 WDN, Marais Visagie 85 WDN

RTD - Jason Roets RTD RTD, Dylan Mostert RTD RTD

DSQ - Sipho Bujela DSQ DSQ, Andi Dill 80 DSQ

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