Albertse's 64 puts him joint first at Copperleaf | TeamSA - TeamSA

Albertse’s 64 puts him joint first at Copperleaf


Louis Albertse produced the lowest loop of his career when he raced through the back nine at The Els Club Copperleaf in 27 strokes to grab a share of the second round lead in the penultimate event in the Race to Q-School Series on the IGT Challenge Tour.

It was not the round he was expecting when he stuck his tee in the ground on the first hole in Centurion.

The big-hitting Dundee-born amateur was four shots off the pace and it didn’t look like he was going to gain any ground on first round pace-setter Tokkie van den Berg as he mixed three birdies with two bogeys and a double at the ninth to turn one over.

‘I started nicely with three pars and made a birdie at four, but I had a soft drop at five,’ said the 21-year-old HPC Tuks Golf Academy player. ‘I made a nice back-up birdie at six, gave it back with another soft bogey at seven, birdied eight and then had a double on nine.

‘Every time I felt that I was getting it going, I had a drop. When I started the back nine, I wasn’t featuring on the leaderboard and I just told myself to put together a solid back nine.’

And everything clicked. He made three birdies on the bounce from 10, followed a birdie at 14 with an eagle at the par five 15th and fired three successive birdies over the last three holes.

‘To start with three birdies in a row was brilliant,’ said Albertse. ‘I hit two good shots at 10 and holed the putt and I made a good up-and-down for birdie at 11. At the 12th I hit it into the fairway bunker and I had 115 metres to the pin. It’s a tight hole with water on the right and I hit a good shot to leave myself with a six-footer for birdie. My mood definitely lifted with that start.’

Albertse parred 13, then hit a 7-iron to 10 foot at the short 14th and made the putt to go four-under.

‘Now I felt really confident and positive,’ he said. ‘I hit a good drive down the middle at the par five and had 245 metres to the flag. The wind was into us, so I swapped the 4-iron for the hybrid. Hit it just long, right, but chipped it in for eagle.’

The Rustenburg golfer had two goals for the last three holes.

‘Finish strong and don’t drop a shot,’ he said. ‘I had 35 metres flag at 16 and I didn’t hit my best second shot. I had 10 feet to the pin and I hit it firm and positive and watched the putt drop. The downhill 17th was playing 142 metres, so I hit a normal wedge to 15 foot.

‘It was a very tricky putt. My caddie and I saw a three-foot break and we had it spot on. The 18th tee was set right at the back. I hit a decent tee shot and a good second from 152 metres into the wind to finish 20 feet from the pin. We got the read right again and I boxed the birdie putt.’

Albertse said the 27 – which was one shot shy of the IGT Challenge Tour all-time 9-hole record of 26, set my Maritz Wessels in 2013 – was the result of long working on his putting game with his coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen.

Putts were dropping when he claimed top 10 finishes in the Free State Open and Gauteng North Open to start the 2018 season. A fortnight ago, he tied for fifth in the South African Amateur Stroke Play at Pecanwood and he came into this week on the back of a joint sixth place finish in the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Glendower Golf Club last Friday.

‘I had 12 putts on the front nine and eight on the back,’ said the reigning Mpumalanga Open champion, who has risen to 12th on the Open Amateur Rankings this season. ‘That’s another personal record for me. Putting is definitely key to my good scoring lately.

‘I shot four rounds in the 60s in the SA Stroke Play and finished with a five under at Glendower after another really good putting round. All I wanted for this week was to be in contention, and I am there. Now I just need to keep that putter warm.’

Van den Berg got it to two under with back-to-back birdies after the turn and another pair of gains at 15 and 16 saw him retain a share of the lead with a four-under 68.

Meanwhile Race to Q-School Order of Merit leader Ruan Conradie from Wingate Park moved within one shot of the leaders with a flawless 66. Two-time winner Roberto Lupini also fired a 64 to join Canadian Steven Lecuyer and the Swede Fredrik From in third at eight-under.

Picture of Albertse courtesy of CJ du Plooy

All competitors SA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
133 – Tokkie van den Berg 65 68, Louis Albertse AMA 69 64
134 – Ruan Conradie 68 66
136 – Steven Lecuyer (CAN) 68 68, Fredrik From (SWE) 67 69, Roberto Lupini 72 64
137 – Maritz Wessels 68 69, Conway Kunneke 67 70, Ruan Korb 67 70
139 – Pieter Moolman 71 68, Michael Schutz 70 69, Kyle Barker 70 69
140 – Tristen Strydom 68 72, Richard Joubert 71 69, Dylan Mostert AMA 66 74, Basil Wright 71 69
141 – Jason Roets 70 71, Duane Keun 71 70, Wayne Stroebel 70 71
142 – Matt Bright 75 67
143 – Carlo Heunis AMA 68 75, Thabi Ngcobo 69 74, Jade Buitendag 72 71
144 – Dylan Docherty 78 66, Clinton Grobler 70 74, Evance Vukeya 74 70
145 – Neville Mitchell AMA 73 72, Louis Botha 71 74, Mark James (ENG) 68 77, Estiaan Conradie 71 74, Peetie van der Merwe 69 76, CJ Levey 74 71
146 – Jonathan Waschefort 74 72, Paul Boshoff 72 74, Ruhan van Dijk AMA 72 74, Michael Pfeifer AMA 76 70
147 – Gilson Filho (BRA) 74 73, Jack Duthie 72 75
148 – Wayne du Toit 74 74, Leon Visser 70 78
149 – Juan Langeveld 79 70, Leon Vorster AMA 70 79, Rafael Parra (VEN) 74 75, Handre Truter AMA 74 75, Zabastian de Jager 75 74, Ruben Labuschagne 71 78, Lance Ellerbeck AMA 74 75, Christopher de Beer AMA 74 75
150 – Eric Nel 73 77, John Bele 73 77, Marco de Beer 77 73

Missed the cut:
151 – Tyron Taylor AMA 76 75, Kalle Nilsson (SWE) 75 76, Tom Watson AMA 75 76, Gary Daoust (BEL) 74 77, Luke Brown AMA 71 80
152 – Tumelo Molloyi AMA 73 79, Michael van Rooyen 76 76
153 – Bryce McCabe 79 74
154 – Duan Nagel AMA 78 76, Marcus Smal AMA 77 77, Michael Kok AMA 80 74, Neal Herman 80 74
155 – Teagan Moore 82 73
157 – Scott Chambers AMA 78 79
158 – Donald Makhafola AMA 82 76
159 – Warren Ansley AMA 78 81, Andrew Plint AMA 75 84, Matthew Kiewitz AMA 79 80
161 – Werner Lourens 79 82
163 – Dylan Morton AMA 81 82, Eric Park (KOR) 87 76
170 – Reuben Bakker AMA 82 88
RTD – Tiaan Klopper 81 RTD